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Dover MP Charlie Elphicke welcomes news two Border Force ships will be patrolling the Channel

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke has welcomed the news two Border Force ships will be patrolling the Channel to tackle the ongoing crisis of migrants crossing it.

The Conservative member has spoken out after the Home Secretary agreed to the move earlier this week.

Around 200 suspected migrants were found crossing the Channel over the Christmas period.

Charlie Elphicke MP
Charlie Elphicke MP

On December 30, six Iranian men were pictured on Kingsdown Beach after making the crossing and the day after, Border Force officers were called to another group in Greatstone.

Mr Elphicke told Sky News: "I have been calling for the two cutters from the Mediterranean for some time so I welcome the fact that he's listened and agreed to recall them.

"That is a positive step.

"Now what we need to do is see more co-operation with the French particularly on anyone found in The Channel in a small craft to get helped safely back to the coast of France.

"We've seen about 200 make it successfully into Britain over the last couple of months and a few day's lull doesn't mean a crisis is over.

"It may well re-start again and many suspect it will do so in the coming days maybe when there is a bit less focus and attention on it than there has been over the last week or so.

"I welcome the fact that HMS Mersey is reported to be on her way up The Channel."

It comes as the Kent Anti-Racism Network is to hold vigil in Ramsgate calling for compassion towards migrants crossing the Channel.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called the rising number attempts by migrants to cross the English Channel a 'major incident'.

The French rescued migrants in the Channel ©Gendarmeriemaritime
The French rescued migrants in the Channel ©Gendarmeriemaritime

Lots of migrants have been intercepted trying to cross the English Channel since Christmas Day.

Mr Elphicke added: "It is important that we have reinforcement of our borders but it is a short term solution from my perspective, but the best thing of all is the two cutters coming from the Mediterranean leave port there and come here as quickly as possible.

"Our borders are best protected by Border Force who have been training for years and in many cases, decades to do a brilliant job to keep out waters safe and secure.

"People here in Dover are really concerned, concerned that if it doesn't get stopped soon there could be a tragedy.

"That's the last thing anyone wants to see, families, men, women and children overturning in the middle of The English Channel and having a tragic end result.

That's why it is so important we work together with the French to bring an end to this situation as absolutely as soon as possible.

"It is positive that Sajid Javid has ordered back the cutters and its great he accepted my invitation to come and see the Dover front line yesterday and the next step is for the French to do more and what does that mean?

Suspected migrants were found on Kingsdown Beach
Suspected migrants were found on Kingsdown Beach

"It means more policing on the northern French coast as more crafts are in trouble in the Channel on their side and also maybe providing more cooperation with us for aerial surveillance bringing that into the French authorities so that anyone found in the Channel can help them carefully and safely back to the French coast.

"I think it is really important that both sides of the Channel's naval assets and indeed Border Force assets are working hard to keep our mutual borders safe and secure and co-operation is the best way to manage that.

"So it is very welcome the French have been having more naval assets and Border Force assets on their side of the Channel.

"The Home Secretary has declared this a major incident and I think rightly so.

"The best way we can bring an end to this crisis is to make it so that no one has any hope of getting across to the UK and getting across and landing on our beaches.

"How do we do that, co-operation is the best way, returning people and helping them back to the northern French coast and I would even say a cross-channel compact that even if they are found in our waters, they are helped back to the northern French coast.

"That's the humanitarian and compassionate thing to do and a way to preserve life."

In all there have been 33 recorded incidents of 270 known or suspected migrants, trying to reach Britain since November 8, nearly all in small crafts.

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