Nearly 600 people cross English Channel to UK in a single day in new record

Nearly 600 people have crossed the English Channel on a single day this week, setting a new daily record.

At least 592 people made the dangerous crossing on Thursday, with at least 155 intercepted by French authorities and returned to the continent, Home Office figures show.

It beats the previous record of 482 set on 4 August, according to data compiled by the PA news agency.

More than 11,000 people have now crossed the Dover Strait aboard small boats since the beginning of 2021.

It comes after an Eritrean man lost his life while trying to reach the UK on Thursday.

The 27-year-old died after he jumped overboard with four others after their boat began sinking in the Dover Strait.

His girlfriend, 22, watched as he entered the water before she was rescued, an association helping French migrants told the PA news agency.

After she was returned to a port in Dunkirk, she discovered her boyfriend had died after being taken to hospital.

A manslaughter investigation into the death has been launched.

The man's death has not stopped people from attempting to make the perilous journey.

The Home Office said 25 people reached the UK aboard one boat, while others were returned to France.

Lisa Doyle, director of advocacy and engagement at the Refugee Council, said: "The government needs to recognise that while there is war, persecution and violence, people will be forced to take dangerous journeys to seek safety.

"We are talking about ordinary men, women and children who are forced to flee their home through no fault of their own. The odds are stacked against them but they struggle on to survive.

"The government must change its approach. Instead of seeking to punish or push away people seeking safety because of the type of journey they have made to the UK, they must create and commit to safe routes.

"As a country, we can save lives and empower people, who have already been through so much, to give back to the communities that welcome them."

Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed to make the Channel route "unviable".

Charities have criticised Ms Patel and her department and called for more safe and legal routes for people wanting to claim asylum in the UK.