Three boats carrying 124 migrants cross the Channel

A total of 124 migrants on board three small boats made the dangerous crossing of the English Channel on Saturday, the Home Office has confirmed.

The latest arrivals brings the total for the year to 1,506 which is down from the 2,072 by the same point in 2023 but up from 1,339 in 2022.

The total for the number who were intercepted by the Border Force for this week is 171 while the highest number who crossed in a single day so far this year was 358 on January 17.

Apart from the crossings on Saturday and Thursday, small boats had not been intercepted since January 31.

Rishi Sunak has made “stopping the boats” a key pledge of his leadership as the country approaches a general election expected later this year.

The Prime Minister’s Safety of Rwanda Bill passed the Commons after the Prime Minister saw off a Tory rebellion which had sought to toughen the legislation.

It cleared its first major hurdle in the House of Lords last month, but faces numerous amendments in the upper chamber and an extended tussle between the Commons and Lords.

Mr Sunak has urged peers not to block “the will of the people” by opposing the Bill.

The Lords begin detailed examination of the Bill in committee stage on Monday.

The asylum scheme comes with a £290 million bill but a series of legal challenges has meant no flights have taken off since it was proposed in 2022.

Under the plan, people who cross the Channel in small boats could be removed to Rwanda rather than being allowed to seek asylum in the UK.