More than 200 migrants arrive at Dover after 11-day 'pause' in Channel crossings

2 May 2022, 12:58

A group of migrants arrived at Dover on Sunday.
A group of migrants arrived at Dover on Sunday. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

More than 200 migrants arrived in Dover on Sunday after making the dangerous journey across the Channel following an 11-day pause in journeys.

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Seven small boats were intercepted by the army on Bank Holiday Sunday after making the perilous journey to the UK.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed 254 migrants were detected, following an 11-day break in activity in the Channel.

No crossings were recorded from April 20 to April 30 amid dangerous conditions, with strong winds and choppy seas reported.

The army took over control of migrant operations in April, when the Government also announced controversial plans to send some of those making the journey across the Channel to Rwanda.

Conservatives have hailed the pause in activity as proof Home Secretary Priti Patel's deal was working while critics continued to harbour serious concerns about the idea.

Read more: Theresa May blasts Priti Patel over Rwanda migrant plan

Read more: Archbishop condemns 'ungodly' Rwanda asylum scheme as Home Office concerns made public

Ms Patel's plans sees Britain deport asylum seekers it believes have arrived illegally to the East African country.

The Home Secretary has admitted her plan will get challenged in the courts.

But she praised the deal, saying: "For the first time, how a person arrives in the UK will affect the outcome of their claim. Anyone who arrives illegally and has passed through a safe country may be deemed inadmissible."

She has previously described the plans as a "world-first" and has hinted that other countries will follow in Britain's footsteps.

Critics have slammed the "ungodly" and "cruel" plan to fly migrants thousands of miles away.

Read more: No migrant crossings detected for nine days - but unclear if Rwanda deal is behind it

It was not known if the Rwanda plan was serving as a deterrent - some claimed the boats weren't heading out because of the difficult weather conditions.

Sunday's figures mean at least 6,947 people have reached the UK since the start of the year after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats, according to data compiled by PA.

That is more than three times the amount recorded by this time last year (2,004) and over six times the figure for the same period in 2020 (1,006).