A French patrol vessel ‘escorted a migrant boat’ as it floated into UK water towards Dover today, as the number of asylum seekers who have arrived across the Channel this year nears 20,000.
Crossings resumed on Tuesday, with pictures showing a dinghy packed with men and boys, some without lifejackets, perched on the sides while their legs dangled in the water.
According to witnesses, a nearby French patrol vessel appeared to be escorting and monitoring the boat as it floated into UK waters towards Dover before it was met by Border Force and later taken ashore at the Kent port.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the number of migrant arrivals was lower than last year and this showed his plan to ‘stop the boats’ was ‘working’.
Provisional Home Office data shows that in 2023 so far 19,801 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel.
This is 21 per cent down on this time last year when more than 25,000 people had already made the journey, analysis of Government figures shows.
The pace and volume of crossings slowed over the bank holiday weekend, with just 60 people detected making the journey in one boat on Sunday and no crossings recorded on Saturday or Monday, according to revised Home Office figures.
Pictures showed people believed to be migrants sitting aboard a dinghy, which was ‘escorted’ by a French patrol vessel. The boat was then met by Border Force and migrants were taken ashore.
The supposed arrival comes after it was revealed migrants who land in the UK in small boats could be forced to wear electronic tags under Home Office proposals.
UK charity Refugee Council criticised the plan, claiming it would result in vulnerable people in search of safety being ‘treated as mere objects’.