Migrant boat carrying 23 reaches British shores, taking total crossings to over 13,000 this year

Downing Street confirm the Home Office agreement with Rwanda remains despite Boris Johnson’s resignation

Published

Another 23 people have crossed the Channel in a small boat as the Government confirmed it was pressing on with plans to send migrants to Rwanda.

The Ministry of Defence stated that one boat carrying the migrants was intercepted as it attempted to arrive in the UK on Friday July 8.

This brings the total of people to have made the crossing so far this year to 13,124 which compares to 6,659 by this point in 2021 and 2,459 in 2020.

On Friday, Downing Street confirmed the Home Office agreement with Rwanda remained despite Boris Johnson’s resignation and suggested the first deportation flight could be made before a legal challenge against the policy is heard on July 19.

Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwandan minister for foreign affairs and international co-operation, Vincent Biruta, signed a "world-first" migration and economic development partnership in the East African nation's capital city Kigali, on Thursday.
Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwandan minister for foreign affairs and international co-operation, Vincent Biruta, signed a "world-first" migration and economic development partnership in the East African nation's capital city Kigali, on Thursday.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This is a pre-agreed Government policy.

“Convention doesn’t prevent or preclude government from seeking to fulfil that policy and that would include defending cases in court as required.”

In April Home Secretary Priti Patel signed what she branded a “world-first” agreement to send migrants deemed to have arrived in the UK illegally to Rwanda.

The first deportation flight, due to take off in June, was grounded amid legal challenges.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, from Amnesty International UK, has urged the Government to re-think the “disastrous plan”, claiming it was “irresponsible and callous”, adding: “The UK government is so far removed from reality and lacking in humanity that they are not only destroying the asylum system but also people’s lives.”