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No small boats have crossed the Channel for 25 days – the longest break since 2020 | UK News


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No migrants have been detected crossing the English Channel in the past 25 days – the longest break since February 2020.

Home Office figures show that the last boat to arrive on British shores was a single vessel carrying 55 people on 16 December.

The day before, seven boats with a total of 292 migrants were found.

By this time last year, 44 migrants on small boats had already been detected. The gap marks the longest break in arrivals since a period spanning February and March 2020.

The pause in attempts to cross to British shores comes as cold and snowy weather has battered many parts of the UK.

Storm Henk, which arrived on 2 January, saw 94mph winds pummel South Wales and southern areas of England.

Amid the adverse weather, Condor Ferries – which operates between Poole, Portsmouth, the Channel Islands and France – cancelled services, while ferry company DFDS called off some Dover-Calais and Dover-Dunkirk sailings.

More on Migrant Crossings

Storm Henk’s arrival came less than a week after Storm Gerrit, which forced Condor to cancel all passenger sailings for three days.

The 25-day period of no small boats includes Christmas 2023 – which was the first without any migrant crossings in five years.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made stopping the boats a priority, but he was dealt a blow last week when leaked figures revealed the number of migrants crossing the Channel could rise to 35,000 this year.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a press conference in the Downing Street Briefing Room, London, as he gives an update on the plan to "stop the boats" and illegal migration. Picture date: Thursday December 7, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Migrants. Photo credit should read: James Manning/PA Wire
Sunak has put stopping migrant crossings at the top of his to-do list

The leaked Border Force documents revealed that 35,000 crossings is the medium-case scenario considered most likely, while the highest projection is 50,000.

A source close to James Cleverly, the home secretary, tried to downplay the projections.

This leak was swiftly followed by the release of a French report that claimed the UK isn’t cooperating with efforts to stop the boats.

The document, published by the French Court of Accounts, said “that the British don’t provide usable information on the departures of small boats, and give very general, first-level information that has not been counter-checked”.

The Home Office claimed the report “is based on out-of-date information and does not accurately reflect our current working relationship” with France.

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