Around 20 migrants brave strong winds to reach Britain

Around 20 migrants brave strong winds to reach Britain just days after another 36 made perilous journey as Channel crossings pick up after two-week hiatus

  • Mostly male group were escorted into Dover on Border Force vessel around 9am
  • Boat could be seen swaying as it battled 30mph winds and choppy conditions
  • Only second group to reach the UK in two weeks due to a spell of poor weather  

Around 20 migrants have crossed the Channel so far today despite strong winds and chilly conditions at sea.

The mostly male group, who were clad in thick jackets and foil blankets, were escorted into Dover, Kent on a Border Force vessel around 9am. 

The boat could be seen swaying as it battled 30mph winds and choppy conditions on its way back to the shore. 

While the Government is yet to confirm the official migrant arrivals for today, UK officials could be seen helping around 20 people off the vessel and removing their life jackets.

A group of around 20 migrants have crossed the Channel so far today despite strong winds and chilly conditions at sea

The mostly male group, who were clad in thick jackets and foil blankets, were escorted into Dover, Kent on a Border Force vessel around 9am

The latest people to make the perilous crossing were just the second group to reach the UK in almost two weeks after poor weather.

People smugglers took advantage of a temporary break in the windy conditions in the Channel on Saturday, with 36 migrants making the perilous journey across the 21-mile Dover Straits in one boat.

The last crossing before this was on November 14, when 400 people reached British soil in eight vessels.

The provisional total for the year so far stands at 42,164 asylum seekers in 1036 boats – an average of 41 people per vessel. 2,261 of those migrants arrived in November alone.

This has already exceeded 2021’s total of 28,526 people and 2020 which saw just 8,410 people make the crossing in inflatable dinghies or other small craft.

While the Government is yet to confirm the official migrant arrivals for today, UK officials could be seen helping around 20 people off the vessel and removing their life jackets

Rishi Sunak is today facing mounting pressure from Tory MPs to make emergency changes to modern slavery laws to reduce the number of ‘bogus asylum seekers’ crossing the Channel in small boats.

A group of 50 led by ex-minister David Davis has written to the Prime Minister to rapidly implement a ‘simple’ change in the law to help reduce the flow of people that has reached 40,000 this year.

They want changes to modern slavery laws to make it easier for people they believe do not qualify for asylum, who say they are victims of trafficking, to be returned.

The Tory backbenchers say that the Channel crossings are a ‘Gordian Knot that needs cutting with a simple policy’.

The demand comes as Mr Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman face pressure to prevent the crossings and improve the conditions which asylum seekers experience in the UK.

Signatories including Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, demand that ‘economic migrants’ travelling from ‘safe countries’ such as Albania are returned more quickly.

They argue that ‘people claiming they have been unwilling victims of human trafficking or modern slavery’ should be returned ‘to their homes in the villages from which they came from’.

Mr Davis told Sky News today that Albanian arrivals should be told ‘immediately – in a summary decision’ that they cannot claim asylum.

The letter was arranged by former Brexit secretary David Davis over Channel crossings

The Tories argue ‘if they have really been taken against their will, then they could not reasonably object to being returned to their own homes’.

‘The quirks in our modern slavery laws that prevent this are clearly in defiance of the aims of that law and should be removed,’ they wrote.

They argue the ‘straightforward and legally workable way of addressing the crisis’ would be a ‘very strong deterrent’ for those planning to risk the perilous crossing.

Former Cabinet ministers Dr Liam Fox and Esther McVey, and longest-serving MP Sir Peter Bottomley, also signed the letter, which demonstrates nerves among the Conservative that failing to tackle the issue will hurt them at the ballot box.

A Government spokeswoman responded: ‘We have made clear that there is no one single solution to stop the increase in dangerous crossings.

‘We have also made clear that we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to deter illegal migration.

‘We are expediting the removal of individuals by agreeing tailored bilateral returns agreements with partners like Albania, elevating it to a key priority for our foreign policy.’

Home Secretary Suella Braverman giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday 

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