2,120 crossed English Channel in small boats at weekend as Rwanda policy faces High Court challenge

More than 2,000 people crossed the English Channel in small boats over the weekend, according to official figures

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The latest statistics released by the Ministry of Defence show that 1,160 arrived in UK waters on 25 small boats yesterday.

Sunday's arrivals follow 960 people, who were taken off 20 small boats on Saturday.

GB News analysis of the figures reveals that 27,490 have crossed in more than 700 boats so far this year, just over a thousand short of the 28,526 people who arrived over the whole of last year.

The latest arrivals come as the Government begins defending a High Court challenge against its plan to send thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

A Border Force vessel in Kent
A Border Force vessel in Kent
Protesters outside the High Court as the Government's Rwanda policy faces a legal challenge
Protesters outside the High Court as the Government's Rwanda policy faces a legal challenge

The deal, announced in April by Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel, has been bogged down by a series of legal challenges.

The first deportation flight, which was due to take off for the Rwandan capital Kigali on 14 June, was forced to abandon its departure after a last minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights.

Several asylum seekers, along with human rights charities and a trade union, are challenging the plans in a Judicial Review.

The Home Office, which is defending the plans, claims Rwanda is a "fundamentally safe and secure country, with a track record of supporting asylum seekers".

On Sunday, Border Force vessels and RNLI lifeboats were busy responding to continuous sightings of small boats since the weather in the Channel began to improve on Friday, after several days of poor conditions.

One boat even made it to the beach near the Kent town of Folkestone.

Locals watched as the boat came ashore on the pebble beach and at least 40 people onboard scrambled out.

A group of more than a dozen were seen running off the beach and disappearing out of view.

August saw the biggest monthly arrival of Channel migrants since the small boat crisis began more than four years ago.

8,644 were taken off 189 inflatables in August, including 1,295 on 22 August, the biggest daily total on record.