Small boat crossings to be second highest yr on file regardless of Sunak pledge

Small boat crossings are set to be the second highest on file this yr, after 93 extra individuals made the perilous journey in freezing chilly waters on Friday.

Last yr was the very best on file, with some 45,755 individuals making the crossing. But regardless of Rishi Sunak ’s promise to ‘stop the boats’ , this yr’s determine is simply 73 away from the second highest ever – 2021’s whole of 28,526. All 4 Border Force catamarans have been within the English Channel on Friday, amassing migrants and escorting them to security.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper mentioned: “Rishi Sunak claimed he would stop the small boats this year but instead this weekend’s figures are set to make it the second highest year of crossings on record, the Tory asylum chaos is continuing and he has broken another promise he made to the British people.

“This Tory asylum chaos has gone on long enough. It’s time they stopped wasting time and taxpayers money on the failing Rwanda scheme and a instead adopted Labour ’s plan to stop the criminal smuggler gangs with a new elite cross-border police force unit to work with Europol in a new security and intelligence sharing arrangement.”

Some 1,661 individuals made the journey final month in 33 boats, together with 224 recorded in 4 boats on Thursday, based on Home Office figures.

Rishi Sunak promised “no tips” and “no ambiguity” on January 4 as he set out his five pledges for the year ahead, but refused to give any timescale for each promise apart from inflation. In his first major speech of 2023, he vowed to deliver “peace of thoughts” to the public even as his Government grappled with an NHS under severe pressure and the ongoing disruption of strike action.

The Prime Minister pledged to halve inflation this year, grow the economy, make sure national debt is falling, cut NHS waiting lists and pass new laws to stop small boat crossings. The Illegal Migration Bill became an Act of Parliament in July after being given royal assent, meaning the Government’s sweeping asylum reforms have become law. At the time the Home Office said elements of the new law may be implemented in stages as officials worked on when the Act would come into force.

The much-criticised flagship legislation, central to Mr Sunak’s pledge to curbing Channel crossings, will prevent people from claiming asylum in the UK if they arrive through unauthorised means. The number of migrants who have arrived in the UK after making the journey is 36% down on this time last year (44,030), PA news agency analysis shows. But the figure is nearing the total recorded for 2021 (28,526).

More than 68,000 arrivals have been recorded because the Government signed a deal to ship migrants to Rwanda in April 2022. More than 35,000 migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK because the begin of Mr Sunak’s premiership in October final yr.

Home Office employees now face a race to fulfill Mr Sunak’s goal to clear the backlog of so-called “legacy” asylum instances – functions made earlier than June 28 2022 – by the top of the yr. Data revealed final month confirmed the backlog of asylum functions – relatively than people – stood at 122,585 as of October 29 this yr, down 12% from a file 138,782 on the finish of February.

The legacy backlog of asylum functions stood at 33,253 as of October 29, down almost a half (47%) from 62,157 on July 30.

To meet the goal, round 16,630 functions would have wanted to be cleared monthly earlier than December 31. Some 12,620 have been cleared between September 24 and October 29, and 9,604 cleared between August 27 and September 24, figures confirmed.

When requested earlier this week if ministers have been making a “realistic estimate” that the goal to clear the legacy backlog could be met by the top of December, Home Office everlasting secretary Sir Matthew Rycroft informed MPs: “We have always been confident of that.”

Speaking to the Commons Home Affairs Committee, he mentioned further sources had been introduced in and there was an “increase of productivity” to sort out the backlog.