More than 800 migrants cross Channel in highest single-day total for 18 months

Migrants who crossed the Channel in small boats on Tuesday are brought ashore in Dover, Kent
Migrants who crossed the Channel in small boats on Tuesday are brought ashore in Dover, Kent - Steve Finn

More than 800 migrants crossed the Channel on Tuesday – the highest daily total for 18 months, Home Office figures have shown.

The 882 migrants reached the UK in 15 boats, bringing the total so far this year to 12,313 – the highest number at this point since the first small boats started crossing six years ago.

The number was the highest since November 2022, when 947 people crossed the Channel, and surpassed the highest number of 872 on Sep 2 last year.

The total is 18 per cent higher than this time last year, when 10,472 crossings were recorded, and up five per cent on the total at this stage in 2022 – 11,690.

Last year, 29,437 migrants arrived in the UK, down 36 per cent on the record 45,774 arrivals in 2022.

More than 2,000 arrivals have been recorded since the general election was called on May 22. With immigration a key campaign battleground, 2,431 migrants have crossed the Channel since Rishi Sunak’s ballot announcement.

In the last six and a half years, as the recent migrant crisis has unfolded, 126,658 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel, data recorded since the start of 2018 shows.

Some 81,677 people have made the journey since the Government struck the stalled deal to send migrants to Rwanda in April 2022.

The tally of crossings since Mr Sunak – who has pledged to “stop the boats” – became Prime Minister in October that year is almost 50,000, now standing at 49,376.

Stephen Kinnock, Labour’s shadow immigration minister, said: “Far from stopping the boats, Rishi Sunak is presiding over the worst year our country has ever seen for Channel crossings, with an arrivals total yesterday [Tuesday] higher than any day in the last 18 months.

“While he has focused all his efforts on trying to get 300 migrants sent to Rwanda, 40 times that many people have crossed the Channel already this year, the trafficking gangs have got ever richer and the amount the Government is spending on hotels for asylum seekers remains stuck at £8 million a day.

“The Labour Party has a comprehensive plan to smash the gangs and end the use of hotels, with hundreds of specialist investigators using anti-terrorist powers under a new border security command and the creation of a new returns and enforcement unit to remove people from Britain who have no right to be here.”