Migrants spotted in the Channel and rescued by coastguard

A small boat carrying migrants has been spotted in the English Channel this morning as crossings continue

The coastguard said that they were alerted to the incident "involving a small boats vessel on the Goodwin Sands" off the coast of Deal, Kent, at around 7.45am and despatched two lifeboats and a helicopter from several locations across the county.

In a statement, HM Coastguard said: "Everyone was rescued safely and disembarked to the relevant partner emergency services or authorities."

Sky News obtained footage of migrants being brought ashore in Dover, but it was not clear whether this was the boat mentioned by the coastguard or a separate incident.

Before today's crossing, nine boats made the journey last week, bringing a total of 543 migrants during that time period.

It is not known how many were on board today's boat.

These latest arrivals come as Number 10 said the first deportation flight to Rwanda has been booked, after Rishi Sunak's flagship deportation bill became law.

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The Safety of Rwanda Bill, which declares the African nation a safe country to deport asylum seekers to, received royal assent on Thursday, meaning it has become an act of parliament and has become law.

The prime minister created the legislation to revive the scheme to send people arriving on small boats to the east African nation after the Supreme Court ruled the scheme "unlawful" in a landmark ruling last year.

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act 2024 - states that Rwanda should be regarded as a safe country "for the purposes of relocating people, including in UK courts and tribunals".

After a number of setbacks and delays, the bill was passed in parliament earlier this week, with Home Secretary James Cleverly hailing the approval as a "landmark moment in our plan to stop the boats".

Anticipating the bill's passage, the prime minister earlier this week promised the first flights would take off in 10 to 12 weeks - "come what may".