Man stabbed crossing the Channel on busiest day for migrant arrivals this year

Attack took place on Wednesday, when a total of 450 people arrived in small boats

A group thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, on a lifeboat after the small boat in which they were travelling was intercepted in the Channel on Wednesday. PA
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A man was stabbed while making the journey across the English Channel in a small boat on Wednesday, as a record 450 migrants made the perilous journey to the UK.

The Home Office said the stabbing was an isolated incident, while police confirmed they were investigating.

A police representative told The Sun: "At 12.52pm on Wednesday, March 20, Kent Police received a report of a man with injuries consistent with stab wounds, following the arrival of a small boat at Dover Western Docks.

"The man has been taken to hospital with injuries which are not described as life-threatening and officers are carrying out inquiries to establish the full circumstances, including where, when and how the injuries were sustained."

It came on what is thought to be the busiest day of the year for illegal Channel crossings, with pictures showing large numbers of people being brought to shore by Border Force officials in Dover.

With the weather calm, the 450 migrants arrived on eight small boats on Wednesday, according to reports.

The total beats the previous high of 401 set on March 4.

A total of 3,529 migrants have arrived in the UK so far this year after making the cross-Channel journey from France, according to the latest provisional Home Office figures. A seven-year-old girl died this month after a boat in which she was travelling capsized.

Ministers are under renewed pressure to chart a course forward for the government's troubled Rwanda Bill, as a parliamentary stand-off over the legislation persists.

The plan to send some undocumented asylum seekers on a one-way ticket to Kigali, Rwanda's capital, was dealt another blow on Wednesday when peers inflicted a further series of defeats to the draft law.

MPs rejected a string of changes made to the draft legislation by the House of Lords earlier this week and ministers urged the unelected chamber to help get it on to the statute books.

But peers have again pressed their demands for revisions to the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, including overturning the bid to oust the courts from the process.

James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, sought to blame Labour for the latest setback, claiming the opposition was seeking to thwart its passage.

He said: "While Labour and their allies try anything to delay, disrupt or destroy that plan, people are risking their lives in the hands of people who don't care if they die as long as they pay.

"The talking needs to end so we can get on with the job of saving lives and stopping the boats."

But his opposite number, Yvette Cooper, said the government would be bringing the bill back next week to "get on with it" if they were serious about implementing their plan.

"The half-a-billion-pound Rwanda scheme is a failing farce, which will only cover less than 1 per cent of asylum arrivals," she said.

"It is clearer than ever that Rishi Sunak knows this plan won't work and only sees it as a political gimmick to get what the former immigration minister described as 'symbolic flights off just before an election'."

100,000 migrants cross the Channel in five years - in pictures

The latest move means a continuation of the Westminster impasse known as parliamentary "ping pong", where the chambers bat one another's proposed changes to draft legislation back and forth.

There is little chance of the bill being cleared before MPs leave Westminster for the Easter break next Tuesday.

The bill and a treaty with Rwanda are intended to prevent further legal challenges to the stalled asylum scheme after the Supreme Court ruled the plan was unlawful.

As well as compelling judges to regard the east African country as safe, it would also give ministers the power to ignore emergency injunctions.

Inside a refugee camp in Rwanda

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But the Lords has again insisted on an amendment to restore the jurisdiction of domestic courts in relation to the safety of Rwanda and enable them to intervene.

Peers also renewed their demand for the bill to have "due regard" for domestic and international law and for Rwanda to be declared safe only when the protections in the treaty are fully implemented and while they remain in place.

Other changes included moves to reduce the risk of unaccompanied children being sent to Rwanda and a block on the removal of victims of modern slavery and human trafficking, as well as those who have worked with the UK military or government overseas, such as Afghan interpreters.

Updated: March 28, 2024, 12:53 PM