Parties clash over claim would-be migrants waiting for Starmer in No 10

Labour pointed to record small boat crossings of the English Channel in response to Tory claims that would-be migrants were waiting for a change in government before making the trip.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said migrants are “queueing up in Calais” waiting for a Sir Keir Starmer-led Labour government to scrap the Rwanda asylum policy.

But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper pointed to record numbers of people crossing so far this year, saying: “Look at the facts, people are not waiting they are arriving.”

Graphic showing cumulative arrivals of people crossing the English Channel in small boats
(PA Graphics)

The number of migrants arriving in the UK after crossing the Channel has hit a new record for the first six months of a calendar year.

Home Office figures show the provisional total for the year so far is already 12,901 before June has ended.

The previous record for arrivals in the six months from January to June was 12,747 in 2022. In the first half of 2023, arrivals stood at 11,433.

Ms Cooper and Mr Cleverly clashed in an LBC debate as the Tories sought to shift the focus away from the row about betting on the General Election date.