Tories Sneak Out Stats Saying Channel Crossings Are Up During Sunak's Latest Stop The Boats Speech

The Home Office released the data as the PM staged yet another press conference on the issue.
Rishi Sunak at this morning's Downing Street press conference.
Rishi Sunak at this morning's Downing Street press conference.
WPA Pool via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak once again repeated his pledge to “stop the boats” bringing asylum seekers to the UK - as new figures revealed the numbers making the crossing are going up.

The Home Office sneaked out the damning data as the PM was holding yet another Downing Street press conference on his plan to deport migrants to Rwanda.

At one point he even boasted about how the number of small boat crossings had fallen in 2023 compared to the year before.

He said: “When people say ‘can people have confidence and trust’ I’ll just point you to what we’ve already achieved.

“Last year, for the first time, the number of small boat crossings were down by 36%.”

But this morning’s Home Office publication proved that any progress Sunak made previously has now gone into reverse.

It showed that so far this year, there have been 6,265 small boat arrivals to the UK, compared to 5,049 during the same period in 2023 - an increase of 24%.

Alistair Carmichael, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson, said: “These figures lay the Conservative party’s empty rhetoric on this issue bare.

“This government by press release has proven totally ineffective. Instead of focussing on the backlog, the prime minister is focussed on sound bites.

“Sunak needs to get a grip, stop cowering to the right wing of his party and put forward practical solutions to stop the dangerous Channel crossings while treating asylum seekers with dignity.”

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “The Conservative government has already passed two bills to address illegal immigration. Both have failed and dangerous boat crossings are up 24%.”

Sunak used his press conference to confirm that his pledge to get flights to Rwanda in the air this spring had been ditched.

Instead, he set a new target date of July, insisting “enough is enough” and that the planes will take off soon.

He also insisted there would be “a regular rhythm of multiple flights every month over the summer and beyond until the boats are stopped”.


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