A total of 5,049 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the English Channel so far this year, according to Home Office figures released on Tuesday.
Some 113 migrants were spotted in three boats on Monday, suggesting an average of 38 persons per boat, The Independent reported.
As one of his five key priorities while in power, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is committed to cracking down on migrants crossing the channel illegally in small boats.
However, Sunak confessed last week that his radical policy plans “won’t happen overnight” and declined to guarantee that they will be completed by the time of the next general election.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, told The Independent that the figures “show the full scale of the Tory failure to get any grip on channel crossings.”
She added: “All they offer is rhetoric and gimmicks instead of any kind of serious plan. No surprise that Rishi Sunak is rowing back on his promise to stop the boats this year.”
Since the government signed a deal to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda more than a year ago, nearly 45,000 migrants have arrived in the UK via the channel crossing.
Matthew Rycroft, Home Office permanent secretary, confirmed in November that Britain had already paid Rwanda £140 million ($174 million) under the agreement, but expressed doubts about the policy’s value for money.
The prime minister’s official spokesman told The Independent: “While we are confident that some of the elements already introduced — stepping up the partnership with the French government to increase intercepts in the channel — is having an impact, we know that this will be an incremental approach.”
The spokesman added that it was “too early to draw conclusions at this stage” regarding the impact of the government’s policy change announcement “given we know the impact the weather can have on weekly, even daily, crossings.”
He added: “It will be the culmination of the introduction of all the different policies we are introducing which will have the long-lasting impact the public want.”
London’s High Court in January granted permission to a group of asylum-seekers to appeal against a ruling that Britain’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda is lawful.
Sunak said on Thursday that he expects a legal battle over the “novel, untested” and “ambitious” Illegal Migration Bill, which is going through parliament, and confirmed there “may well be” an interim judgment from the European Court of Human Rights against the policy, as happened with the Rwanda scheme.
Braintree District Council announced that it had been granted an injunction hearing at the High Court on Wednesday, and that the Home Office had agreed not to move any migrants to the Wethersfield site until after that date, The Independent reported.