Rishi Sunak insists migrant plan ‘working’ despite 1,500 arrivals in five days

The Prime Minister has insisted his plan to stop the boats is “working”, as photos emerge of yet more migrants being brought to shore this morning.

Rishi Sunak told broadcasters the current illegal migration crisis is “ridiculous, unfair and unsustainable”.

It comes as 661 migrants crossed on Monday alone, followed by a further 764 between Tuesday and Thursday.

Despite the latter half of the week seeing fewer crossings than predicted, at least three more boat-loads of migrants have been collected today, almost certainly taking the five-day total beyond 1,500 – three Bibby Stockholm barges-worth.

Mr Sunak said that before he became PM, the number of illegal migrants coming to the UK had quadrupled in the last few years.

READ MORE: Migrants brought to shore by officials after small boat ‘incident’ in Channel

Mr Sunak said: “For the first time this year, crossings are down. They are down about 15 percent versus last year.

“That’s the first time that has happened since the small boat crisis emerged.

“That shows that the plan is working. I never said it would be easy,”

Many observers put the fewer crossings at the start of the year down to worse weather, however.

More than 18,000 people have still crossed into Britain in small boats since the start of 2023, but the bulk of last year’s crossings didn’t happen until the latter half of the year.

Mr Sunak is struggling to hit his promise to stop the boats, and to clear the ‘legacy backlog’ of asylum cases.

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The PM said there is no single policy that will solve the crisis, but the Government is “working on a range of different things that will make a difference”, including the deal with Albania.

He refused to comment on reports one migrant had threatened to kill themselves rather than move onto the Bibby Stockholm barge.

Official figures publishes yesterday showed a two decade-record in migrants coming to Britain, with asylum applications up 19 percent in a year.

The Government granted asylum to 7 in 10 of its decisions, and while the legacy backlog of asylum cases did fall, it will take the Home Office to make three times as many decisions to reach Mr Sunak’s pledge to clear the backlog by the end of the year.

Yesterday’s figures also showed the state of crisis on the channel, with 52,530 ‘irregular migrants’ detected entering the UK – 85 percent of whom arrived via small boats.

This is a 17 percent increase on the year ending June 2022.

Adult men represent 87 percent of small boat arrivals in the year, and have represented 75 percent of total small boat arrivals since 2018.

Just 10 percent have been children in the first two quarters of 2023.

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