A TORY MP has come under fire for a "sickening" message shared on Christmas Day about small boats of migrants crossing the English Channel.

In a series of tweets on December 25, Natalie Elphicke, the Conservative MP for Dover, reflected on small boats carrying refugees crossing the English Channel.

She said that there is "no compassion" in allowing people to leave France to make the dangerous journey across the Channel where many people have already died this year.

Saying that people make these journeys "in the hands of ruthless criminal gangs", Elphicke added: "Vulnerable people are forced into boats at knifepoint and gunpoint. People, including young girls, are trafficked for exploitation. Criminals and people wanted for terrorism have been stopped in Dover where they have entered our country through the small boats route.

"There is no compassion in any of this - anyone thinking otherwise is simply out of touch."

She added: "This Christmas reinforces to me how vital it is that we bring the treacherous small boats crossings to an end once and for all."

Elphicke was widely condemned for her message on the day that remembers Jesus being born in a stable following an act of kindness.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: "This is sickening hardly the Christmas message."

While Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer highlighters the Christmas story, tweeting: "When you would have turned Mary, Joseph & the baby Jesus over to Herod, given half the chance..."

Comedian Nish Kumar also condemned the tone of the message on Christmas day, saying: "Famously, Christmas is a time to not offer vulnerable people refuge."

And journalist Owen Jones added: "This is the obvious lesson to draw from a celebration marking the world’s most famous story of a refugee who fled persecution and violence."

Oxford University professor of contemporary archaeology Dan Hicks reminded Elphicke of another Bible passage. He said: "The Tory MP who spent Xmas morning tweeting pro-Herod propaganda might revisit Matthew 25.

"'The righteous will ask, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you water? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?’'"

READ MORE: Three Tory MPs face suspension over 'attempt to influence judicial proceedings'

Stuart McDonald MP, the SNP’s shadow home secretary, said: “It is a tragedy that people continue to lose their lives crossing the Channel.

“Instead of demonising asylum seekers, the UK Government needs to meaningfully cooperate with our neighbours to tackle people smugglers and, crucially, work to secure safe routes for vulnerable people seeking refuge from dreadful conditions. People’s lives depend on it.”

Following an incident involving two small boats, Border Force agents brought in 67 people who were attempting to cross the English Channel in the early hours of Christmas Day.

Images show UK agencies bringing the group of people in shortly before 1.30am on Christmas Day.

The National:

French authorities also intercepted one boat on the same day. It is not known how many people were on the third boat.

More than 29,000 people have been intercepted attempting to cross the English Channel so far in 2021.

READ MORE: 'Absolute tragedy': 31 people die as boat capsizes in the English Channel

On Tuesday, a total of 258 people were intercepted on eight boats by the UK while 87 more on five boats were prevented from reaching Britain by French authorities.

This follows more than 1000 people attempting to cross from France during four days including last weekend.

This year's figure is compared to 8417 intercepted in 2020.

Twenty-seven people are thought to have died, including seven women, a teenager and a seven-year-old girl, when their boat sank while trying to cross the Channel last month.