I have been contacted by many constituents recently who are concerned about the situation of unaccompanied refugee children living in Calais

I have recently met with representatives of Amnesty International, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Care for Calais to discuss this and have written directly to the Home Secretary. I am sure she is absolutely well aware of the circumstances regarding the impending closure of the camp and is doing all she can, particularly in relation to the children.

Firstly, I would like to assure you that the Government supports the swift processing of asylum claims made in Calais and is continuing to work with key EU Member States to ensure the family reunification process works effectively.

However for migrants, including children, to be processed under the Dublin Regulation they must first claim asylum in France. The management of asylum claims and the protection of unaccompanied children in Calais is primarily a matter for the French authorities. A French non-government organisation, France Terre D'Asile, has been charged with identifying isolated children with UK links. The UK will consider requests to take responsibility of an asylum application made in France when lodged by a minor with close family connections in the UK, and both Governments are committed to ensuring such cases are prioritised.

A dedicated team has been established in the Home Office Dublin Unit to lead on family reunion cases for unaccompanied children. Transfer requests under the Dublin Regulation are now generally processed within 10 days and children transferred within weeks. Over 120 children have been accepted for transfer this year from Europe, including 70 from France.

To ensure that the provisions of the Dublin Regulation are used efficiently and effectively in both countries, a joint contact group has been established in line with the commitment in the Joint Declaration published in August 2015. The UK has held regular discussions with French Interior Ministry colleagues, including visits to Calais and Dunkirk, to examine the processes and the information made available to migrants. The UK has also seconded an asylum expert to the French administration to facilitate the improvement of all stages of the process. The UK and France are running regular joint communication campaigns in northern France which inform unaccompanied children and others of their right to claim asylum in France and of the family reunion process.

In addition, the Government continues to work with the Greek and Italian authorities, and others, to speed up existing family reunification processes or implement new processes where necessary for unaccompanied children. A UK official has been seconded to Greece, there is a long-standing secondee working in Italy, and the Government will be seconding another UK expert to the French Interior Ministry.

As the previous Immigration Minister James Brokenshire made clear, the French Government remains committed to meeting its EU and international obligations and the opening of new places in its asylum system for those that claim asylum in Calais demonstrates this. I am reassured that the UK and French Governments are unified in their response to this situation, and both Governments recognise the importance of close partnership and collaboration to reach a long-term solution.

The Government also began work to implement the Lord Dubs amendment immediately after the Immigration Bill gained Royal Assent. Since then the Government has been working to transfer children who met the criteria in the Immigration Act, prioritising the youngest children, and I am very glad that some have already arrived in the UK and started new lives.

I do understand the concerns expressed for the welfare of migrants in camps in Calais. While I should point out that the management of the camp, both in terms of humanitarian aspects and maintaining law and order, is the responsibility of the French Government, I am glad that the UK has committed to providing £3.6 million per year for two years to help provide support and facilities elsewhere in France. This is to ensure that migrants can be helped to enter the French asylum system in a safe, systematic and humane manner.    As I am sure you are aware, the first group of unaccompanied children arrived in the UK from Calais on 17 October, with more due to arrive over the coming days and weeks.