Priti Patel mocks Rishi Sunak’s government over its failure to stop migrants crossing the Channel


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Priti Patel has mocked the Government over the small boats crisis as more than 1,000 migrants arrived in 48 hours.

The former home secretary made the public intervention after it was confirmed there were 686 arrivals across the Channel on Friday – the highest daily total so far this year.

Dame Priti tweeted: ‘Stopping the boats is much harder than the Government thought it would be.’ She later told the Mail: ‘There is no single solution to ‘stopping the boats’, as this Government has finally discovered.’

Yesterday the Home Office confirmed a further 384 migrants were brought to British soil on Saturday, meaning there were more than 1,000 arrivals over a 48-hour period.

It brought the running total for the year to 12,503.

Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel making a statement on the Government's Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda

Britain’s Home Secretary Priti Patel making a statement on the Government’s Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda

Border Force officials escort 65 migrants into Dover Docks, Kent

Border Force officials escort 65 migrants into Dover Docks, Kent

The rate of arrivals so far in 2023 is catching up with last year, despite being down by about a fifth at some points earlier in the year.

Figures for yesterday have yet to be confirmed, but at least two further boat-loads of migrants were brought ashore by the UK Border Force.

Last week the Mail revealed how official forecasts had suggested the number of small boat crossings may fall slightly this year, despite judges ruling that the crucial Rwanda deal is unlawful.

Latest Home Office projections say the ‘most likely’ scenario is 40,000 Channel crossings by end of the year, compared with 45,000 in a previous forecast drawn up at end of last year.

In the whole of last year, 45,728 migrants reached Britain by small boat from northern France.

The new projections say that in a ‘worst case’ scenario, there could be 55,000 crossings by the end of this year – far lower than the previous estimate of 80,000.

And in a ‘best case’ scenario, the numbers could fall to as low as 35,000, the projections suggest, 10,000 lower than the previous guess of 45,000.

At the end of last month, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Rwanda deal – which aims to send migrants to the east African nation to claim asylum there rather than do it here – is unlawful.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking at a press conference in London

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking at a press conference in London

Judges said sending any migrants to Rwanda would be ‘considered a breach of Article 3’ of the European Convention on Human Rights, prohibiting torture and ill-treatment.

This was the second time the Rwanda scheme has been blocked by human rights laws – after Strasbourg judges intervened to stop the first charter flight to Kigali just over a year ago.

The Court of Appeal’s ruling was a major blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has made stopping the boats one of his five key pledges to voters for his time in office.

The Government is understood to have lodged an appeal against the decision.

It came as former home secretary Kenneth Clarke warned the Rwanda scheme is the only way to stop the illegal crossings. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Lord Clarke said he believed the only solution was ‘to cease to entertain illegal immigration and deport [migrants] to safe places’.

‘People can make objections to the Rwanda scheme, they can point out legal complications with it but they don’t have a plan of their own. So the choice is between doing nothing and Rwanda,’ he said.

Last year, arrivals by small boats peaked in August, when 8,641 migrants reached the UK, and there were five days during 2022 when more than 1,000 people arrived in a 24-hour period.

The daily record was 1,295, on August 22.

Before being eclipsed by Friday’s arrivals, the busiest day this year was June 11, with 549, revised down from the figure originally published by the Home Office.


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