UK says Channel crossings on small boats hit a record this winter | World News - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

UK says Channel crossings on small boats hit a record this winter

AFP |
Apr 01, 2024 03:34 PM IST

UK says Channel crossings on small boats hit a record this winter

Channel arrivals on small boats to the UK hit a record in the first quarter of 2024 with a nearly 42 percent rise over last year, the interior ministry said Monday.

HT Image
HT Image

British officials processed 5,373 migrants landing on the shores of southeast England in the first three months of the year after crossing the Channel in small vessels, it said.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

This compares to 3,793 making the perilous journey from January to March in 2023 a 41.7 percent rise and the highest figure ever for the opening quarter of any year.

Nearly 800 arrived on 16 small boats over just the Easter weekend.

This is a serious political problem for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a general election year, after the embattled Conservative leader repeatedly vowed to "stop the boats".

He claimed to be succeeding when the annual total fell by around a third last year, but the trend has reversed dramatically so far in 2024.

Sunak is facing a daunting task keeping his Tories in power since 2010 in charge after the next election, which he must call at some point this year.

After nearly two years lagging well behind the main Labour opposition, two weekend surveys showed a further deterioration in support for the Conservatives.

One study, involving more than 18,000 voters in multiple polls over recent weeks, forecasts the party will suffer its worst election defeat in history, reduced to just 80 MPs while Labour wins a record 470.

The small boat arrivals, and broader concerns among some voters about levels of immigration, are blamed for contributing to the predicted exodus of former Tory voters.

The interior ministry has said that smugglers organising the Channel crossings are adapting their methods, using bigger boats and packing more people.

Interior Minister James Cleverly told the BBC this week that the government is now "going after the boats upstream in the supply chain".

Sunak is also pushing ahead with controversial proposals to deter the cross-Channel journeys by trying to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The UK Supreme Court blocked the plan over safety fears but the government has introduced contentious legislation to override that by declaring Rwanda "safe" and agreeing a new treaty with the east African country.

Flights could take off within months if lawmakers approve the draft law in the coming weeks.

jj/ach

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

Tell us what your First Vote will stand for in a short video & get a chance to be featured on HT’s social media handles. Click here to know more!

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections 2024, Lok sabha election 2024 voting live , Karnataka election 2024 live in Bengaluru , Election 2024 Date along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On