Albania’s prime minister has criticised Rishi Sunak for “bad taste” tactics over his crackdown on small boat migrants.
Edi Rama accused the UK Government of “spinning the drama” over Albanian migrants when they now only made up 2 per cent of Channel small boat arrivals.
His comments come as the Prime Minister is expected to claim in a speech that his plan to stop the boats crossing the Channel is starting to work.
In an update on the progress of his pledge to stop the boats, Mr Sunak is expected to cite a sharp decline in the number of Albanians crossing the Channel as evidence that a tough stance on deportations will deter illegal migrants.
The numbers are down from around 30 per cent of Channel arrivals last year to 1 or 2 per cent in the first four months of this year.
However, Mr Rama told the BBC: “The British Government cannot detach from the propaganda. It’s miserable and bad taste to spin a drama for political gains.
“Less than 2 per cent of total arrivals to the UK were from Albania. To continue to talk about Albanians is low life.”
The Albanian prime minister has not hesitated to criticise ministers when they speak out against Albanians. He previously accusing Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, of “disgraceful” comments for singling out Albanians.
He suggested her comments last year about “Albanian criminals” crossing the Channel in small boats could themselves be considered a crime.
It is understood that thousands of Albanians are being tracked down and targeted by Home Office immigration enforcement officers for deportation.
A 400-strong team of case workers has been set up to fast-track a backlog of 17,000 asylum applications by Albanians, most of which are expected to result in their deportation.
Ministers believe that the new “assertive” approach and new deportation agreements with Albania has permeated back to potential migrants from the Balkan state.
“The reason that we are returning Albanians is to deter people from coming in the first place, and that is succeeding,” Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, told Sky on Sunday.