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Migrant boats wash up at beach near Dover sparking fury of MP Natalie Elphicke


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An MP has expressed her dismay after seeing two dinghies carrying more than a dozen migrants wash up at the foot of the White Cliffs.

Natalie Elphicke says the first inflatable boat, carrying eight people, came ashore at St Margaret's Bay, near Dover, at about 9am today.

Natalie Elphicke stood next to the first of the boats to arrive today. Picture: Twitter/@NatalieElphicke (40621991)
Natalie Elphicke stood next to the first of the boats to arrive today. Picture: Twitter/@NatalieElphicke (40621991)

She says those on board headed towards the village on foot after arriving on the Kent coast.

While standing next to the first vessel, "moments" after it arrived, the MP for Dover and Deal said: "In it were eight people – seven fit men and one woman.

"This is unacceptable that people are breaking into Britain in this way.

"It is important when the French stop the boats leaving the shore that they intercept dinghies like these in the Channel and that if they do arrive on our shores, they're returned quickly and promptly to France.

"That would put an end to the small boat crossings."

Ms Elphicke says a second boat came ashore shortly afterwards. Picture: Twitter/@NatalieElphicke (40621993)
Ms Elphicke says a second boat came ashore shortly afterwards. Picture: Twitter/@NatalieElphicke (40621993)

The second, said to be "full" of men and women, landed nearby about an hour later.

Five vessels carrying a total of 65 people arrived along the coast yesterday.

Clandestine Channel threat commander Dan O'Mahoney says he is working with his counterparts in France to make "this route totally unviable".

“France is a manifestly safe country with a fully functioning asylum system and refugees there can and should claim asylum," he said.

"We are determined to return those who do not have a legitimate asylum claim.

"However, this is made increasingly difficult as countries can have caps on the number of returns they accept. We are working as a matter of urgency to resolve this."

So far this year, 23 people smugglers have been jailed and two suspected traffickers have recently been charged.

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

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