Rishi Sunak claims migrants ‘queuing up in Calais’ for Labour government

Rishi Sunak has claimed migrants are “queuing up in Calais” waiting for a Labour government so they can come to the UK.

He told The Sun’s Never Mind The Ballots leaders’ event that if Sir Keir Starmer becomes prime minister, illegal migrants will not be on the way to Rwanda as they would be under his own plan, but “on our streets putting pressure on public services”.

The Prime Minister added: “By the way, I can tell you now they are queuing up in Calais waiting for a Starmer government so they can come here and stay here.”

The audience applauded his response.

Immigration cropped up repeatedly during the event, which saw the leaders separately interviewed by The Sun’s Harry Cole in front of a live audience who asked questions.

Mr Sunak defended his migration policy and said a Labour government would “release everyone we’ve detained” and “leave them out on the streets”.

Sir Keir said the backlog of asylum claims would double by the end of the year if the Conservatives were re-elected.

“There are 50,000 people not being processed. If we carry on with Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister it will get to 100,000 by the end of the year,” the Labour leader said.

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He added that it was “outrageous” to pay hotel bills to accommodate people who are not being processed.

Mr Sunak acknowledged “the numbers were too high” when discussing legal migration, but declined to say who was responsible.

He said: “So we’ve got on and delivered lower migration. I’m not going to defend the levels that I inherited because they were just too high.”

Asked who was to blame for the figures, Mr Sunak said “I’ve been Prime Minister for 18 months”. He was then asked if it was Liz Truss or Boris Johnson’s fault, and replied: “The numbers were too high.”