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'Complete Chaos': Rishi Sunak Slammed As Record Numbers Of Small Boats Cross Channel

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, from a Border Force vessel following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Saturday March 30, 2024. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, from a Border Force vessel following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Saturday March 30, 2024. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images) Gareth Fuller - PA Images via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats” carrying asylum seekers to the UK is in ruins after record numbers arrived in the first three months of the year.

Around 800 more made the perilous journey across the Channel in just two days over the Easter weekend.

Labour said the prime minister was presiding over “complete chaos”.

Sunak promised to put an end to the crossings at the start of 2023, just weeks after he replaced Liz Truss in Downing Street.

He has repeatedly boasted that the numbers arriving fell by one-third last year compared to 2022.

However, more than 5,000 have already come to the UK in 2024 - a record number for this point in the year.

According to the Home Office, 349 arrived on seven boats on Saturday, with a further 442 coming on board nine boats on Easter Sunday.

Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said: “The Tories have overseen an unprecedented level of dangerous Channel crossings this Easter Bank Holiday.

“Over the Christmas break, they were quick to claim credit for the low number of crossings, so where are the home secretary and prime minister now, when we’ve seen almost 800 people arrive in small boats over the Bank Holiday weekend?

“This is complete chaos. It’s time the Tories got a grip and adopted Labour’s plan of going after the criminal smuggling gangs, with a new cross border police unit, and set up a new returns and enforcement unit to remove those who have no right to be here.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The unacceptable number of people who continue to cross the Channel demonstrates exactly why we must get flights to Rwanda off the ground as soon as possible.

“We continue to work closely with French police who are facing increasing violence and disruption on their beaches as they work tirelessly to prevent these dangerous, illegal and unnecessary journeys.

“We remain committed to building on the successes that saw arrivals drop by more than a third last year, including tougher legislation and agreements with international partners, in order to save lives and stop the boats.”

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