Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy, former head of the Les Republicains political party and former French president, attends the party's weekend summer university youth meeting in Le Touquet, France, 27 August Reuters

The Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has attacked the UK's record on refugees and asylums seekers saying France should send the thousands of migrants living in Calais' jungle camp to Britain.

As he attempts something of a political comeback ahead of presidential elections in France later this year, Sarkozy said Britain should be caring for asylum seekers hoping to live in the UK.

"I'm demanding the opening of a centre in Britain to deal with asylum seekers in Britain so that Britain can do the work that concerns them," Nicolas Sarkozy told a political rally in Touquet in northern France.

"The jungle should not be in Calais or anywhere else, because this is a republic and those with no rights to be here should return to their country," Reuters quoted the former French leader as saying.

In 2003 Britain and France agreed to the Tourquet accord, under which British officials can check passports in France and vice versa. The accord essentially made France responsible for dealing with migrants and refugees hoping to travel illegally to Britain.

As conflicts have has continued to spread across the Middle East and Africa, the size of Calais' migrant camp has swelled to unprecedented numbers. Local people and politicians in northern France have become increasingly unhappy with the thousands of migrants living makeshift settlements around the area, as the wold faces its worst displacement crisis since the end of the Second World War.

Striking a more populist tone, Sarkozy was in part reacting to statements by his conservative rival Alain Juppe, who opened his presidential bid on Saturday. He has called for the Touquet accord to be renegotiated.

Sarkozy served as the French President until May 2012 when he was beaten at the presidential polls by incumbent François Hollande, a socialist.