Published On: Thu, May 25th, 2023
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Small boat arrivals in 2023 are down – Braverman’s policy or just bad weather? | Politics | News

The number of people coming illegally to Britain over the English Channel on small boats for the first quarter of this year was 17 percent lower than the same three months last year.

That’s 3,793 to be exact.

What is unclear with this set of figures is whether the rhetoric and plans to push through legislation to tackle the migrant crisis has acted as a deterrent and the policy is working or whether the numbers were lower because of the terrible weather.

The worry is that despite these numbers reducing, many more are coming over on cheap flights and overstaying their welcome.

Hotels are still being found to house thousands upon thousands of asylum seekers.

READ MORE: Sunak ‘needs to decide which side he’s on’ as migration rockets

A number of Tory MPs have spoken to do not believe the policy will work.

As one MP said: “The numbers coming across the Channel may drop but they are finding other routes and anyway the weather has been atrocious. Just wait til the summer.”

Almost 4,000 illegal asylum seekers is still after all quite a lot. That’s accommodation and living costs which will have to be found for months.

The Illegal Migrants Bill has not been passed yet and is being held up by the Lords who seem to have taken the leftwing view being espoused by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his fellow clerics.

So the new law is not responsible for lowering the number, it is possible that its threat is putting people off though.

What is more significant perhaps is that Priti Patel’s Rwanda policy may finally be on the point of clearing the courts.

Sunak and Braverman have stuck with Patel’s controversial plan which was always meant to be a deterrent.

After all, what is the point of making a dangerous journey to Britain only to end up in Rwanda?

Ms Patel has not been quiet to friends because she felt colleagues did not properly support her in tackling legal or illegal migration.

But it is possible that after years of trying, the policies may finally be working, in which case, arguably, the reduced numbers are Ms Patel’s victory.

But only more figures over the months to come will confirm whether the government really has got control of this issue or if this is just a temporary calming on the crisis.

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