Sunak says stop the boats plan is starting to work as he announces two new barges
Rishi Sunak has insisted that his plan to tackle the problem of small boat crossings in the English Channel is starting to work, as he announced that two more barges will be used to house asylum seekers off the coast of Britain.
The prime minister hailed a 20 per cent fall in asylum seekers making the crossing compared to last year, and claimed that a 90 per cent drop in the number of Albanians arriving by small boat was proof that migrants can be deterred by the measures introduced as part of his crackdown.
But opposition parties accused him of self-congratulatory hubris and cynical spin, saying the announcement of yet more micro-measures, including forcing asylum seekers to share rooms, was like Groundhog Day.
The latest row over Mr Sunaks small boats policy came as:
Under pressure to fulfil his stop the boats pledge, Mr Sunak used a speech in Kent to insist that his returns deal with Albania is having an impact, with 1,800 Albanians having been sent back in the past six months.
While Tory MPs welcomed the latest figures, some remain concerned that those returned to Albania represent only a small proportion of the 12,000 who arrived from the country which is deemed safe by the government via the Channel in 2022.