Channel crossings continue for a fourth consecutive day

More than 600 migrants have arrived in the UK since Saturday.

Flora Thompson
Tuesday 17 May 2022 19:26
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dungeness, Kent, onboard the RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat, following a small boat incident in the Channel (Gareth Fuller/PA)
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dungeness, Kent, onboard the RNLI Dungeness Lifeboat, following a small boat incident in the Channel (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Large numbers of people have arrived on a Kent beach after Channel crossings continued for a fourth consecutive day.

More than 600 migrants have arrived in the UK since Saturday, with more brought to Dungeness beach by lifeboat on Tuesday.

Officers processing the arrivals were seen carrying out security checks on a long queue of men with handheld scanners, while a small number of women and children were also pictured on board the lifeboat.

The crossings continued, with more people including young girls arriving in Dover later in the day.

Officers carry out security checks on Dungeness beach in Kent on Tuesday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Since the start of this year, 8,412 people have reached the UK after navigating busy shipping lanes from France in small boats, according to analysis of Government data by the PA news agency.

There were 19 people who made the crossing in one boat on Monday, after 436 in nine boats on Sunday and 167 in 13 boats on Sunday, according to Ministry of Defence (MoD) figures.

The crossings come as the minister for refugees faced questions over whether he supports the Government’s plan to deport migrants to Rwanda.

Asked by Matt Chorley during an interview on Times Radio whether he is “comfortable” with the policy, Lord Richard Harrington said: “Well, I’m the minister for Ukrainian refugees and it’s my job to resettle them.

“They come in on legal routes … illegal routes are different and the Government has to do what it thinks (is) right to try and stop these people smugglers from smuggling people in there.”

Asked if the Rwanda deal “sends the right message”, Lord Harrington, who Boris Johnson appointed to take charge of Britain’s response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis, said: “As I say, I’m the minister for Ukrainian refugees. I was given this project to do by this Government … and that’s what I’m doing.”

Mr Chorley added: “It doesn’t sound like you’re that happy about it, Richard”, to which Lord Harrington replied: “I’m doing what I’ve been asked to do by the Prime Minister.”

According to the Government’s website, Lord Harrington’s responsibilities include overseeing the Ukraine visa schemes and the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme.

Women and children were among those arriving on Tuesday. (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Meanwhile councillors in North Yorkshire said the Home Office intends to move 60 asylum seekers into a disused RAF base by the end of the month, despite opposition from locals.

Hambleton District Council, which is seeking a judicial review of the plans, says it has asked ministers to pause the controversial proposal “immediately”.

According to The Times, the reception centre will hold 500 migrants in its first year, with a total capacity of 1,500.

In 2020, the village had an estimated population of around 800.

Councillor Mark Robson, leader of the council, said: “At a meeting late this morning, we … have been told by the Home Office that they intend for 60 people to arrive at the centre at the end of this month.

“We have in the strongest possible terms asked that the Home Office pause this proposal immediately to allow for consultation to be carried out and are awaiting their response to this ask.”

In an update published on his website on Monday, Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton Kevin Hollinrake said he met Home Office officials and “made it clear the lack of response to residents’ concerns has been unacceptable”, adding that the council was continuing to pursue a legal challenge to the plans and he “fully” supports the “quest for a legal route to reverse this”.

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