Row over Eurostar deportee

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The Independent Online
MPs last night demanded a crackdown on a "deport-yourself" scheme which allows illegal immigrants to make their own way out of the country.

The Home Office is under fire after an Algerian deportee leapt from a Eurostar traintravelling to Brussels on Saturday. Five immigration officials put Bonito Cobbola on the train but none accompanied him because its doors are sealed while it is in motion.

Cobbola jumped while the train was moving at 45mph through Sandling, Kent. He appears to have survived but rail staff are still searching the track for his body in case he did not.

A Eurostar spokesman has said an emergency handle was used to open the door.

Questions are being asked about the Home Office policy. David Shaw, MP for Dover, said the incident raised serious concerns over security. He also said it exposed a loophole in which, unlike ferry companies and airlines, users of the Channel Tunnel were not financially liable for people they bring into Britain without proper documents.

"Clearly it is very worrying that this person, who was being asked to leave the country, was unescorted," he added.

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