Fifteen EU countries to follow UK’s lead as Rishi Sunak reveals UK has returned 10,000 migrants this year

Fifteen EU countries to follow UK’s lead as Rishi Sunak reveals UK has returned 10,000 migrants this year
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 21/05/2024

- 15:14

Rishi Sunak did an exclusive interview with GB News

The UK has returned 10,000 migrants to other countries this year, including 1,700 foreign national offenders, the Prime Minister said today, claiming that as many as 15 EU countries are preparing to follow Britain's lead on migration.

He said the figures, given exclusively to GB News, "shows the progress we are making" in his mission to stop the boats.

The UK returned 2,000 more people this year than last year, the PM said.

Speaking to GB News' Katherine Forster from Austria, he claimed that EU countries are now "clearly" following the UK's lead when it comes to stopping the boats, saying Britain is "pioneering something new".

Sunak said: "Just this year, in fact, we have returned 10,000 people back to other countries. That's 2000 people more than we did last year. So that shows the progress we're making.

"And included within that are 1,700 foreign national offenders, again, 400 more than last year.

"So yes, we are making progress. Of course, there's more to do. I've been very clear that I won't stop until we have stopped the boats."

The PM, who gave a press conference alongside Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer today, added: "The Austrians share our view that tackling illegal migration is one of the great issues of our time.

"It requires urgent attention, and the only way to fully solve this problem is to embrace new, bold, novel solutions like the use of safe third countries for removals.

"That's something that the Austrians believe, and indeed what we've just seen in the last few weeks.

"There's 15 EU countries actually all making the same point that that's what this requires.

"That's why our Rwanda scheme is so important - we are pioneering something new.

"I said when I first got this job that where Britain leads, others would follow when it comes to tackling illegal migration. And you can see that that is now clearly the case."

He said he has had a "very constructive dialogue" with Nehammer about "what more we can do to work together and again to lead this conversation in Europe".

Sunak said others in Europe are seeing that being able to "remove people to a safe third country" is "how you break these criminal gangs".


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