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Charlie Elphicke fears centres set up to handle migrants returning to Calais will make port town ‘a magnet’

PUBLISHED: 08:55 01 August 2017 | UPDATED: 08:55 01 August 2017

Port of Calais

Port of Calais

Archant

The camp known as ‘the Jungle’ was dismantled last year but huge numbers of migrants are said to still be in northern France

Plans to set up two centres in France to handle hundreds of migrants returning to Calais may make the port town “even more of a magnet”, a Kent MP has warned.

At the height of the migrant crisis, some 8,164 people were held at a detention centre in Dover between July and December 2015 as many looked to make their way across the Channel and enter the county via the port.

Last year, the camp known as ‘the Jungle’ was dismantled, but huge numbers have said to be returning to Calais in recent months, leading to French interior minister announcing this week that the centres will be set up to help ease the pressure.

Dover MP Charlie Elphicke, however, who has frequently called on Theresa May and home secretary Amber Rudd to beef up border protection in the House of Commons, fears the centres will have a detrimental effect.

“There is a real risk that setting up these two new centres will make Calais even more of a migrant magnet,” he said.

“It means thousands more vulnerable people will be encouraged to make the perilous journey across Europe - with many falling into the hands of ruthless traffickers.

“We cannot allow a new Jungle or Sangatte to spring up in Calais yet again.

“Our border needs to be more secure than ever - particularly at the Dover frontline. And the French must be on high alert to protect tourists and truckers from attacks by trafficking gangs.”

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