More than 4,500 migrants have crossed English Channel this year

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More than 4,500 people have been detected crossing the English Channel in small boats this year despite Rishi Sunak’s promise to crack down on the problem.

The latest Home Office figures show 77 people in two boats risked the voyage on Thursday.

They followed 492 people on Wednesday, the year’s highest daily total and a figure which was revised up after it was first published.

It brings the total number of people detected making crossing in small boats this year to 4,563 according to the provisional figures.

The total number of crossings last year was 45,755.

The Prime Minister has promised to “stop the boats” as one of his five main priorities.

The Government’s Illegal Migration Bill, currently going through Parliament, is aimed at changing the law to make it clear that people arriving in the UK illegally will not be able to remain in the country.

Instead they will either be sent back to their home country or to a nation like Rwanda with which the UK has a deal, although so far legal challenges have meant no flights carrying migrants have taken off for Kigali.

The Government’s attempts to use a former RAF base in Essex to house asylum seekers is also set to end up in court.

Braintree District Council said it had been granted an injunction hearing at the High Court on April 19 and the Home Office had agreed not to move any migrants onto the Wethersfield site until after that date.

In a statement, the Tory-run council said the Home Office had confirmed to it that preparatory work would continue at the site.

Labour’s shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said: “Every day the Conservatives spend scrambling to sort out their internal squabbles and legal problems, their failure to secure our borders and run a functional asylum system is costing taxpayers millions.”

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