§ Beverley Hughes
[holding answer 20 June 2002]An agreement was signed with France dated 20 April 1995 in relation to the taking back of passengers who are refused admission on arrival in the United Kingdom ("the 1995 Agreement").
That agreement covers, among other things, the arrival of persons through the Channel Tunnel and therefore has the effect of qualifying the Sangatte Protocol. But it also relates to passengers travelling between France and United Kingdom via the Channel ports. The 1995 Agreement provided that, in relation to asylum seekers, it would be superseded by the relevant provisions of the Dublin Convention once that Convention came into force. The Dublin Convention came into force on 1 September 1997. Therefore, from that dates in relation to those claiming asylum, the provisions of the Dublin Convention prevail in so far as that Convention determines which State is responsible for deciding the claim.
Figures for illegal entrants returned to France under the 1995 Agreement from June 1997 are not available, but locally collated management statistics from 2001 onwards indicate that, in 2001, 6,828 passengers who arrived at the port of Dover who did not claim asylum and did not qualify for entry to the United Kingdom, were returned to France under the 1995 Agreement. In the first quarter of 2002 that figure was 2,385.