Latest Home Office figures reveal 300 people made the dangerous journey across the Channel on Tuesday, bringing the number of people reaching the UK by small boat this year to 20,101
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The number of people reaching the UK by small boat has reached 20,000 this year.
The milestone was reached after 300 asylum seekers landed yesterday, bringing the 2023 total to 20,101. The Tories have been accused of allowing criminal gangs to “rule the roost on Britain’s borders” after failing to deliver on Rishi Sunak’s pledge to stop the boat.
It comes just days after new figures showed more than 175,000 people were awaiting a first decision on their asylum application at the end of June. Floundering Mr Sunak has made stopping the dangerous crossings one of his key pledges, but repeatedly refused to say when he’d achieve this.
Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister, Stephen Kinnock, said: “Rather than stopping the boats, Rishi Sunak has fundamentally failed to get a grip, and crossings are rocketing on his watch.
“The Conservatives have allowed criminal gangs to rule the roost on Britain’s borders.” It’s time for a different approach. The Prime Minister should drop all his headline-chasing gimmicks and instead back Labour ’s plan to stop the dangerous Channel crossings by going after the criminal gangs, by securing a returns deal with Europe, and by clearing the asylum backlog which is costing the taxpayer £6 million a day.”
Figures released by the Home Office reveal that Afghanistan and Iran are the two countries most represented in small boat crossings so far this year.
Data from January to June this year show the 10 most common nationalities are:
- Afghanistan – 1,474
- Iran – 921
- India – 867
- Iraq – 656
- Eritrea – 611
- Syria – 602
- Turkey – 485
- Sudan – 385
- Egypt – 375
- Vietnam – 301
According to Home Office figures 1,272 made the crossing in the seven days up to yesterday. Provisional figures suggest there were none recorded on Saturday or Monday.
This time last year more than 25,000 people had arrived by small boat – but Labour claims the current number is “just a fortnight behind”. Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mr Sunak urged the public to be patient.
He 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.
“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.”
He played down suggestions that bad weather had been a bigger factor than policy decisions made by the Government. While June 2023 was the warmest on record, July and August have been much more unsettled, with a sequence of low pressure bringing wind and rain. Summer 2022 was the fourth warmest on record for the UK and the warmest on record for England, with heatwaves in each of the three months.