Around 20 migrants brave strong winds to reach Britain

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So far about 20 migrants have crossed the Channel despite strong winds and cold sea conditions.

Dressed in heavy coats and foil blankets, the mostly male group was escorted to Dover, Kent by a Border Force ship at around 9am.

The boat could be seen swaying on its way back to shore in 30 mph winds and choppy conditions.

While the government has yet to confirm official arrivals of migrants for today, British officials were seen helping about 20 people off the ship and taking off their life jackets.

A group of about 20 migrants have so far crossed the Channel today despite strong winds and cold sea conditions

A group of about 20 migrants have so far crossed the Channel today despite strong winds and cold sea conditions

Dressed in heavy coats and foil blankets, the mostly male group was escorted to Dover, Kent by a Border Force ship at around 9am.

Dressed in heavy coats and foil blankets, the mostly male group was escorted to Dover, Kent by a Border Force ship at around 9am.

Dressed in heavy coats and foil blankets, the mostly male group was escorted to Dover, Kent by a Border Force ship at around 9am.

The last people to make the perilous crossing were only the second group to reach the UK in nearly two weeks after bad weather.

People smugglers took advantage of a temporary lull in windy conditions in the Channel on Saturday, with 36 migrants making the perilous journey across the 21-mile Straits of Dover in a single boat.

The last crossing before that was on November 14, when 400 people in eight ships reached British soil.

The provisional total for the year so far stands at 42,164 asylum seekers in 1,036 boats – an average of 41 people per ship. In November alone, 2,261 of those migrants arrived.

This is already more than the total of 28,526 people in 2021 and in 2020, when only 8,410 people made the crossing in inflatable dinghies or other small craft.

While the government has yet to confirm official arrivals of migrants for today, British officials were seen helping about 20 people off the ship and taking off their life jackets.

While the government has yet to confirm official arrivals of migrants for today, British officials were seen helping about 20 people off the ship and taking off their life jackets.

While the government has yet to confirm official arrivals of migrants for today, British officials were seen helping about 20 people off the ship and taking off their life jackets.

Rishi Sunak today faces mounting pressure from Tory MPs to pass emergency changes to modern day slavery laws to reduce the number of ‘fake asylum seekers’ crossing the Channel in small boats.

A group of 50 led by ex-minister David Davis has written to the Prime Minister to swiftly pass a ‘simple’ amendment to the law to reduce the influx of people, which has reached 40,000 this year.

They want changes to modern day slavery laws to make it easier for people they believe do not qualify for asylum and claim to be victims of human trafficking.

The Tory backbenchers say the Channel crossings are a “Gordian knot that must be cut with simple policy.”

The demand comes as Mr Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman are under pressure to prevent border crossings and improve the conditions experienced by asylum seekers in the UK.

Signatories, including Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, demand that “economic migrants” coming from “safe countries” such as Albania be returned more quickly.

They argue that ‘people who claim to have involuntarily become victims of human trafficking or modern slavery’ should be returned ‘to their homes in the villages they came from’.

Davis told Sky News today that Albanian arrivals should be told ‘immediately – in summary proceedings’ that they cannot apply for asylum.

The letter was arranged by former Brexit Secretary David Davis about the Channel crossings

The Tories argue that ‘if they have really been taken against their will, they cannot reasonably object to being returned to their own homes’.

“The idiosyncrasies in our modern slavery laws that prevent this are clearly contrary to the purposes of that law and should be removed,” they wrote.

They claim the “straightforward and legally workable way of handling the crisis” would be a “very strong deterrent” to those planning to venture the dangerous crossing.

Former cabinet ministers Dr Liam Fox and Esther McVey, and longest-serving MP Sir Peter Bottomley, also signed the letter, showing nerves among Conservatives that failing to address the issue will hurt them at the polls.

A government spokeswoman said: “We have made it clear that there is no single solution to stop the increase in dangerous crossings.

“We have also made it clear that we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to combat illegal migration.

“We are expediting the removal of individuals by negotiating tailored bilateral return agreements with partners such as Albania, making this a top priority for our foreign policy.”

Interior Secretary Suella Braverman will testify before the Select Interior Committee on Wednesday

Interior Secretary Suella Braverman will testify before the Select Interior Committee on Wednesday

Interior Secretary Suella Braverman will testify before the Select Interior Committee on Wednesday