Migrant crossing Channel to UK

Migrants are helped by RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat before being taken to a beach in Dungeness, on the south-east coast of England after crossing the English Channel. Image: Ben STANSALL / AFP

Record number of migrants cross Channel to UK in single day this year

More than 880 irregular migrants crossed the Channel to Britain on boats on Tuesday, the highest number in a single day so far this year.

Migrant crossing Channel to UK

Migrants are helped by RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat before being taken to a beach in Dungeness, on the south-east coast of England after crossing the English Channel. Image: Ben STANSALL / AFP

More than 880 irregular migrants crossed the Channel to Britain on small boats on Tuesday, the UK government said, the highest number in a single day so far this year.

The arrivals come as political parties in Britain campaign for a general election on July 4 at which immigration is one of the major issues.

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had pledged to “stop the boats” but faced obstacles to his plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The 882 people who made the crossing bring the total for 2024 to 12 313, according to Home Office provisional figures.

Migrant crossings 18% higher than in 2023

The figure for crossings so far this year is 18 percent higher than for the equivalent point last year, when the figure stood at 10 472.

Around 15 boats were detected by authorities on Tuesday.

Sunak’s controversial law allowing irregular migrants to be deported to Rwanda was finally passed in April after months of parliamentary wrangling.

But after calling a general election last month the premier was forced to concede that deportations would only take place “after the election” if he was re-elected.

The Conservatives are trailing badly in the polls to Keir Starmer’s Labour Party which has promised to scrap the Rwanda scheme, branding it a gimmick that won’t work.

There were 29 437 arrivals across the whole of 2023, a drop of 36 percent on a record 45 774 arrivals in 2022.

By Garrin Lambley © Agence France-Presse