Rishi Sunak is "achieving some success" on stopping small boats crossing the English Channel a minister claimed today, despite 25,000 people having made the treacherous journey since he became Prime Minister.
Education minister Nick Gibb defended the Prime Minister on GB News this morning amid mounting pressure on the Conservative leader on the number of illegal migrants entering the UK.
Sunak has made "stopping the boats" one of his five priorities of Government telling voters to judge him at the next election his ability to deliver.
But GB News revealed on Friday that since the Prime Minister came to office on October 25, there have been more than 25,000 arrivals via the English Channel with hundreds making the journey each day.
Nick Gibb appeared on GB News this morning
Appearing on the Camilla Tominey Show this morning, Gibb said: "This is a top priority for the Prime Minister and actually we are achieving some success but there is clearly a lot more to do.
"And that's what's at the top of the Prime Minister's agenda and the Government's agenda at the moment."
He added: "The Prime Minister came into office in October and one of his top five pledges to tackle the small boats issue.
"This current year, year to date, there are 15 per cent fewer boat crossings than this time last year. There's clearly more to do.
Nick Gibb said there was still more work to do
"We've negotiated - with the leadership of the Prime Minister - deals with France, with Albania, and with Turkey to get the intelligence to understand what's happening so we can tackle it at the root.
"We passed the Illegal Migration Bill and now that the bill is in statue it means anyone arriving in this country illegally cannot have residency here so anyone arriving on boats now will be sent back to where they came from or a third party country such as Rwanda."
The Government passed the Illegal Migration Bill received Royal Assent on 20 July 2023 and means anyone who arrives in the UK without a right to be here will be immediately deported.
A deal is in place with Rwanda for those who make the journey to the UK to be sent to the African nation for asylum processing.
However, the agreement is currently being challenged in the courts, delaying the Government's ability to remove those who have crossed the Channel illegally.
Gibb added: "We are confident that the Rwanda process will work but we need to wait for the judgement of the Supreme Court on this matter.
"We passed the Illegal Migration Act because you need to deal with the incentives of people wanting to make that very dangerous crossing. People are drowning in the Channel, children are drowning in the Channel.
"We cannot for humanitarian reasons allow these people smugglers to continue their evil trade praying on people's desire to get to this country. So we have to make it clear that if you come via that route or any illegal route you will not be able to claim asylum in this country.