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Dover’s new MP, Charlie Elphicke, use his maiden speech to demand proper border security

Charlie Elphicke Commons Charlie Elphicke gained Dover at the general election and used his maiden speech during a debate on European affairs to raise issues close to his constituency’s heart:

“We in Dover are, of course, used to visitors. One of our earliest recorded visits was in 55 BC by Julius Caesar; he caught an early ferry from France and came to Dover. In those days border security was quite good-would that were still the case - and he was unable to make a landing at Dover because warlike tribesmen were going to see him off. Instead he went down the coast a few miles-to Deal and Walmer, it is said - where he landed and did the customary European thing in those days: proceeded with an invasion. Having made some progress with his invasion, he then dispatched a communiqué back to Rome. This is what he said:

"By far the most civilised inhabitants are those living in Kent, a purely maritime district".

“Well, Dover maritime is very maritime - and, we like to think, very, very civilised. While we are disappointed that Julius Caesar made war upon us, we forgive him a bit because of his very communautaire approach in talking so nicely about us to his capital city.

“European relations have continued in this vein ever since, in war and in peace. In Napoleonic times the channel fleet was stationed off the coast of Deal. The long historical link between Deal and the Royal Marines was forged, too. As Members will know, we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of Operation Dynamo, the glorious retreat from Dunkirk. Our white cliffs came to symbolise a nation's struggle to survive-a nation's struggle for sovereignty and the values of liberty, democracy and freedom that our nation upholds. As Member of Parliament for Dover, I know that I carry a heavy responsibility to uphold those vital values.”

“Other things come out of our history of being the gateway to England and the border of our nation. The first of them is concern: concern that the previous Government conceived a plan to sack our experienced immigration officers. We are concerned because we do not want porous borders, nor do we want more human trafficking, more gun running or more drug smuggling. We want to ensure that we have proper border security and national security. We want to ensure that the "jungle" in Calais is dealt with, not simply because we are concerned about the number of people there, but because we are concerned about the children there, who are living in terrible conditions. We want them to be looked after properly in a proper European settled way. We must co-operate with our friends, allies and community partners to get a lasting solution to this concern that many hold.

“The previous Government also conceived a plan to sell off our port. We do not want our nation's borders to be sold. The people of Dover are trenchantly opposed to that idea. I come here planning to do all in my power to find a better way forward than simply to sell it off at the bottom of the market, possibly to a foreign power. That would be the wrong thing to do for our nation's security… The liberty of the subject is one of the most important calls on any Member of Parliament, and as the Member of Parliament for Dover, I especially feel that responsibility, given my constituency's history in defending our nation's freedom and liberty.”

Jonathan Isaby


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