Hundreds more migrants arrive in Dover after making perilous journey across the Channel – just days after Government’s Rwanda policy declared ‘unlawful’

  • 356 asylum seekers were intercepted by Border Force officials from seven boats 
  • Comes as Supreme Court concluded that Rwanda scheme would break the law

Hundreds more migrants arrived in Dover after crossing the Channel by small boat yesterday just days after the government’s Rwanda policy was ruled ‘unlawful’. 

A total of 356 asylum seekers were intercepted by Border Force officials from seven boats and escorted into Dover, Kent, throughout the day.

Around 50 asylum seekers were picked up from an inflatable dinghy off the coast of Dover and brought to shore on Border Force catamaran Hurricane shortly before 10am.

The mostly male group, who were clad in hooded jackets and hats after battling chilly conditions at sea, could be seen removing their orange lifejackets as they were escorted along the former jetfoil to be taken for processing.

One man appeared to be limping as he linked arms with another migrant.

At least 40 more asylum seekers were escorted into the port on a Border Force catamaran shortly after midday, while a similar-sized group were brought in on another of the agency’s vessels around an hour later.

They appeared cold, wrapping red blankets around their heads and shoulders as they disembarked the boat.

A total of 356 asylum seekers were intercepted by Border Force officials from seven boats and escorted into Dover, Kent, throughout the day

A total of 356 asylum seekers were intercepted by Border Force officials from seven boats and escorted into Dover, Kent, throughout the day

Four more dinghies carrying migrants were intercepted throughout the day.

This comes as the Supreme Court concluded unanimously that the Rwanda scheme to deport arrivals immediately would break the law.

President of the Supreme Court Lord Reed said there would be a risk of genuine asylum seekers being returned by Rwanda to the home country they fled from. 

The decision immediately sparked Tory demands to loosen protections under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) so the policy can go ahead.

At the time, Tory Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson said the Government should simply ‘ignore the laws’ and ‘just put the planes in the air now and send them to Rwanda’. 

Sacked Home Secretary Suella Braverman had accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of having ‘no Plan B’ if the policy was blocked by judges.

The PM responded to the Supreme Court ruling by pledging a new treaty with Rwanda and emergency legislation allowing Parliament to declare the East African country safe for asylum seekers.

And in a nod to the fury of the Tory Right, he insisted if that failed he was ready to ignore the European Convention on Human Rights rather than let ‘foreign courts’ stand in the way of action. 

The PM said that planes should start leaving for Rwanda next Spring – although he would not guarantee the timetable. 

‘Let me tell everyone now – I will not allow a foreign court to block these flights,’ Mr Sunak said.

‘If the Strasbourg Court chooses to intervene against the express wishes of Parliament I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to get flights off.

‘I will not take the easy way out.’

Just six asylum seekers were rescued from the Channel by French authorities after getting into difficulty while trying to make the crossing on Thursday, according to France’s Prefecture Maritime.

A French escort vessel was pictured accompanying one of the migrant boats into English waters yesterday

A French escort vessel was pictured accompanying one of the migrant boats into English waters yesterday

In the early hours of the morning, the CROSS rescue centre in Cap Gris-Nez, northern France, was informed that a migrant boat was in difficulty off the coast of Equihen beach.

The French Navy boat Rhône picked up six people and dropped them off at the port of Boulogne later on in the morning, where they were taken care of by the departmental fire and rescue service and the border police.

A total of 971 people have crossed the Channel in 19 boats this month – an average of 51 people crammed into each vessel.

This brings the total number of small boat crossings so far this year to 27,670 in 565 inflatable dinghies.

Last year saw a record 45,755 people make the journey across the 21-mile Dover Strait.

This is 60 per cent higher than in 2021, when 28,526 asylum seekers reached the UK.

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