Rishi Sunak has said he is spending most of his time tackling the ongoing migrant crisis as the government attempts to stem the flow of Channel crossings.
Speaking to GB News, the Prime Minister addressed concerns from the public about the alarming increase in migrants entering the UK.
Latest official figures from the Ministry of Defence show that 400 people crossed the Channel on Monday in 8 small boats. One boat managed to land on a beach at St Margaret’s Bay near Dover.
It comes as Home Secretary Suella Braverman signed a £63 million deal with her French counterpart, to boost cross-Channel cooperation and the number of French police patrolling the beaches of North Western France.
Earlier this week, Home Secretary Suella Braverman signed a historic deal with the French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. Stefan Rousseau
Overall figures show that 42,138 people have now crossed the Channel since the beginning of January this year.
In the whole of last year, 28,526 people crossed from France to the UK in small boats.
Mr. Sunak, speaking to GB News' Political Editor Darren McCaffrey, said: “Government policy and my policy is we will want to reduce net migration.
“I’m not going to put an arbitrary number on it because I want to be honest with people.
“Right now, our number one challenge is getting a grip on the number of illegal migrants coming that’s the thing I want to focus on first.
“It’s what the British public want us to focus on. Our deal with the French this week is the first in a series of things we’ll need to do.
“People should rest assured that this is a huge priority for me, and taking up a lot of my time.”
Overall figures show that 42,138 people have now crossed the Channel since the beginning of January this year. GB News
Earlier this week, critics claimed the UK’s deal with France to curb Channel crossings does not match the scale or urgency of the crisis and is “recycling the same failed response”.
Natalie Elphicke, the Conservative MP for Dover, described the fresh multimillion-pound deal as falling “short of what’s needed”, adding that it “doesn’t match the scale or urgency of the small-boats crisis.”
Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director Steve Valdez-Symonds said: “Perpetuating this dreadful human suffering by recycling the same failed response to punish and deter desperate people in miserable and unsafe conditions has become mindless to the point of cruelty.”