Should refugee university records and social media be checked? A Norfolk MP thinks it would mean Britain’s ‘generosity is not abused’

Smoke rises over the Calais Jungle camp, as several large fires broke out in the near deserted migra

Smoke rises over the Calais Jungle camp, as several large fires broke out in the near deserted migrant camp in northern France on the third day of the operation to clear it. John Stillwell/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The social media records of refugees should be checked to ensure Britain's 'generosity is not abused', a Norfolk MP has claimed.

Sir Henry Bellingham - the MP for North-West Norfolk - raised the issue amid claims Haris Stanikzai, who arrived in Britain from the Calais 'Jungle' camp last month, could have been 22.

The Afghan claimed he was 16, but The Sunday Times reported that it found a dating profile suggesting he is 22 and another claiming he was previously enrolled at a university in Kabul.

Sir Henry told the House of Commons that the country had always been 'very compassionate and understanding towards children fleeing persecution', but said that every young adult over 18 admitted meant one fewer child in desperate need being allowed in. He suggested that checks should be extended to social media and university records.

Home office minister Robert Goodwill said that where 'clear and credible documentary evidence of age' was not available, criteria - including physical appearance and demeanour - were used as part of the interview process to assess whether a person is under 18.


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British newspapers were criticised last month for questioning the ages of child refugees arriving in the UK from the Calais jungle camp.

The Calais camp - known as the Jungle camp - was cleared last week, with Britain agreeing to take a number of child refugees.

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Liberal Democrat spokesman and Scottish MP Alistair Carmichael said that instead of 'treating refugees as if they were broken-mouthed ewes', the British government should be working with the authorities and the Government in France to ensure that 'we never again see the shambolic and shameful treatment that we saw last week'.

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