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Channel crossings in July hit highest monthly total of year so far amid reports of new deal with France

Written by on 1 August 2022

The number of migrants crossing the Channel in July was the highest monthly of the year so far, with 3,683 making the journey in 90 boats, according to government figures.

The new total – the highest of any month in 2022 – comes amid reports Home Secretary Priti Patel will sign another multi-million pound deal with France to try to reduce the numbers.

According to the Times, the money will go towards more beach patrols and surveillance equipment, and be in addition to millions already paid to the country.

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It also comes a month after new laws increasing the maximum penalty for those illegally entering the UK to four years in prison, and life in prison for those piloting the boats.

The government announced its plan to send migrants who arrive illegally in the UK to Rwanda just three months ago, saying it would deter people from making the Channel crossings.

But the first flight to the country was cancelled after a last minute order from the European Court of Human Rights, and 11,131 migrants have arrived in the UK since.

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Ms Patel has continued to stand by the plan, saying the government would “not be deterred from doing the right thing [and] we will not be put off by the inevitable last-minute legal challenges”.

And both candidates for the Tory leadership, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, have committed to the scheme.

Home Secretary Priti Patel arrives at 10 Downing Street, Image: Reports claim Priti Patel is about to sign a new deal with France to try to curb Channel crossings

But opposition parties and charities – reportedly even Prince Charles – have claimed the policy is inhumane.

Last month, court documents revealed Ms Patel was warned against pursuing the scheme, with the UK’s High Commissioner to Rwanda saying the country “has been accused of recruiting refugees to conduct armed operations in neighbouring countries”.

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