Express reports from Channel as migrant boats approach UK
More than 20,000 migrants have been detected crossing the Channel in small boats so far this year.
Some 300 people made the dangerous journey in five boats yesterday, according to Government figures.
It takes the provision total for 2023 to date to 20,101.
The figure is around 20 percent down on this time last year when more than 25,000 people had already made the perilous crossing.
But this summer has seen more unsettled weather compared with last year when there was a spike in crossings in August.
READ MORE: Migrants crossing busy Channel show smugglers have ‘no regard for life’
There have been 5,369 people detected crossing the Channel so far this month, compared with 8,631 recorded in the whole of August 2022.
Pictures of some of Tuesday’s arrivals showed a dinghy packed with men and boys, some without lifejackets, perched on the sides while their legs dangled in the water.
It comes as Rishi Sunak has urged people to “have confidence” in his pledge to stop small boats.
Speaking during a visit to Norfolk yesterday, the Prime Minister said: “This year, for the first time since the small boats crisis emerged, the numbers crossing are down. It’s important for people to understand that.”
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He added: “This year for the first time the numbers of people crossing are lower than the year before. That hasn’t happened before. That shows that the plan is working.
“Of course, there’s more to do, but I want people to have confidence that we are on it, and we’ll keep going.”
Mr Sunak previously played down suggestions that the lower number of crossings compared with last year was linked to poor weather conditions rather than policy decisions.
Labour’s shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock accused the Government of allowing criminal gangs to “rule the roost on Britain’s borders”.
Mr Kinnock added: “Rather than stopping the boats, Rishi Sunak has fundamentally failed to get a grip.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “The unacceptable number of people risking their lives by making these dangerous crossings is placing an unprecedented strain on our asylum system.
“Our priority is to stop the boats, and our Small Boats Operational Command is working alongside our French partners and other agencies to disrupt the people smugglers.
“The Government is going even further through our Illegal Migration Act which will mean that people arriving in the UK illegally are detained and promptly removed to their country of origin or a safe third country.”
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