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Eleven boats carrying 169 asylum seekers cross Channel

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Eleven boats carrying asylum seekers were found in the Channel yesterday.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) - which has taken over operations from the Home Office - reports that 169 people made the journey between France and the UK, on 11 boats.

Photo show asylum seekers landing on the beach in Kent
Photo show asylum seekers landing on the beach in Kent

A spokesman for the government department said: "The Ministry of Defence does not believe that any migrants arrived on their own terms in a small boat from the English Channel."

It comes more than 7,000 asylum seekers have reached the UK after navigating the busy shipping lanes in inflatable boats since the start of 2022.

The figure is three times the number who arrived in the same period last year and seven times higher than the first four months of 2020.

In an effort to stop the dangerous crossings, Home Secretary Priti Patel signed what she described as a “world-first” agreement with Rwanda.

It will see the country receive asylum seekers deemed by the UK to have arrived “illegally” and therefore inadmissible under new immigration rules.

But the deal is already subject to legal challenges.

Number 10 is also unable to confirm when the first flights to the east African nation would take off, with initial trips still 'months away'.

The navy has also been drafted in to take control of the Channel crossings.

Any figures for people crossing the Channel today are not expected to be released by the MOD until tomorrow.

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