Huge wave of migrants reach UK in new single-day record

Michael Drummond, PA South East Correspondent
·2-min read

At least 409 migrants have reached UK shores in a rush of small boats, a new single-day record.

A wave of people took advantage of flat seas in the English Channel on Wednesday, with hundreds of migrants intercepted in the Channel while others managed to land on beaches.

Wednesday’s record total surpasses the previous high of 235, set on August 6.

It brings the total number of migrants who have crossed the sea to Britain in 2020 to more than 5,600, analysis by the PA news agency shows.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament that the UK is a “target and magnet” for people traffickers and vowed to change the law to help tackle the crisis.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought into Dover, Kent, by the RNLI following a small boat incident in the Channel (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Balmy sunshine and crystal clear conditions meant that France was clearly visible from Dover throughout the day.

Large numbers of migrants were seen being brought into the Kent port, packed aboard Border Force patrol vessels and sitting on the front of lifeboats.

Some smiled and waved as they arrived while others carried toddlers too young to walk.

Numbers arriving were so high that dozens of migrants spent an hour sat on Border Force boats in the harbour before they were allowed to disembark.

Meanwhile, empty dinghy after empty dinghy were towed in from the Channel.

On Wednesday evening, the Home Office confirmed that at least 409 migrants had reached the UK by small boat.

More incidents were ongoing and that number could be revised up.

In recent weeks, the Home Office has sought to blame French authorities and “activist lawyers” for rising numbers of crossings and difficulties removing asylum seekers once they arrive in Britain.

Last month, Home Secretary Priti Patel appointed former Royal Marine Dan O’Mahoney to the post of “clandestine Channel threat commander”.

He is expected to be among those giving evidence about migrant crossings to the Home Affairs Committee on Thursday.