Hundreds of migrants cross Channel in one day

Setting a new daily record hundreds of migrants crossed the Channel to the UK on Monday.

At least 430 people made the crossing, according to the Home Office. Approximately 50 people, including women and young children were seen arriving on a beach at Dungeness, Kent after a crossing in a single dinghy,

The previous daily record was set in September when 416 people arrived in the UK from across the Channel.

Priti Patel, Home Secretary, has pledged to make the crossing ‘unviable’ but many people have continued to make the dangerous crossing this summer.

Eight boats carrying 241 people arrived in the UK on Saturday, and to date, nearly 8,000 people have reached the UK this year in around 345 boats.

The dinghy that reached Dungeness is believed to have left either northern France or Belgium earlier in the day before crossing the 21-mile Dover Strait.  It was watched by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) as it approached before landing at approximately 1pm.

The migrants included children who were too young to walk, while some of the arrivals needed help as they walked on to the beach.

This all came as MPs debated plans for sweeping reforms to the asylum system under the nationality and borders bill, which is branded the ‘anti-refugee bill’ by critics.

The bill would make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and people could face up to four years in prison. It also includes clauses which would allow the UK to send asylum seekers to a ‘safe third country’.

Theresa May, former prime minister has spoken out against the bill, saying she considered it when she was home secretary but dismissed it due to ‘practical concerns’.

The bill has been denounced by charities including Refugee Action, which has called the plans ‘extreme and nasty’.

Director of charity Detention Action, Bella Sankey, said: “The Home Office’s anti-refugee bill is political theatre that doesn’t even pretend to deal with the issue or make our system, safe, fair or efficient”.

“We need a mechanism allowing refugees arriving at the UK border  in France to be given a safe passage, and until we have it, all else is noise and distraction”.

The clandestine channel threat commander, Dan O’Mahoney, who was appointed by Patel last year – said of Monday’s record Channel crossings: “This is an unacceptable rise in dangerous small boat crossings across the Channel because of a surge in illegal migration across Europe”.