Three boats carrying 124 migrants made the perilous journey across the English Channel on Saturday, according to the Home Office. This brings the total number of arrivals this year to 1,506, less than the 2,072 recorded at the same time last year but more than the 1,339 in 2022.
Border Force intercepted a total of 171 people this week, with the highest number of crossings on a single day being 358 on January 17. Apart from the crossings on Saturday and Thursday, no small boats had been intercepted since January 31.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to “stop the boats” as part of his leadership campaign ahead of an expected general election later this year. His Safety of Rwanda Bill passed the Commons after he quelled a Tory rebellion that sought to toughen the legislation.
The Bill cleared its first major hurdle in the House of Lords last month, but faces numerous amendments in the upper chamber and an extended tussle between the Commons and Lords. Mr Sunak has urged peers not to block “the will of the people” by opposing the Bill.
The Lords begins a detailed examination of the Bill in the committee stage on Monday. The asylum scheme comes with a £290million price tag, but a series of legal challenges have meant no flights have taken off since it was proposed in 2022.
According to the plan, people who make the risky journey across the Channel in small boats could be sent to Rwanda instead of being allowed to apply for asylum in the UK.