Rishi Sunak warns illegal migrants are ‘queuing up in Calais waiting for a Labour government’ so they can come to Britain in small boats without fear of being deported to Rwanda

Illegal migrants are ‘queuing up in Calais waiting for a Starmer government’ so they can come to Britain and stay here, Rishi Sunak said last night.

The Prime Minister tried to create a clear dividing line with Labour on immigration, claiming Sir Keir would reverse his Rwanda deportation flight policy if elected and did not have a plan to deal with Channel boats.

It came as migrants themselves admitted they were waiting in northern France for the election to take place before attempting the perilous journey across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. 

One, a former anti-Isis fighter from Iraq, told the Telegraph that ‘we need to wait until the new government has arrived’.

Last night Mr Sunak used a hustings to question what would happen to migrants if the Tories lose on July 4

‘Those illegal migrants will not be on planes to Rwanda,’ he told the Sun’s Never Mind the Ballots election debate. 

‘They will be out on our streets putting pressure on public services. And by the way, I can tell you now they are queuing up in Calais waiting for a Starmer government so they can come here and stay here.’

The audience applauded his response. 

Illegal migrants are ‘queuing up in Calais waiting for a Starmer government’ so they can come to Britain and stay here, Rishi Sunak said last night

It came as Home Office figures showed the number of Channel migrants has hit a record for the first six months of a calendar year at 12,901

It came as Home Office figures showed the number of Channel migrants has hit a record for the first six months of a calendar year at 12,901

The Prime Minister claimed the Labour leader would reverse his Rwanda policy if elected and did not have a plan to deal with the boats

The Prime Minister claimed the Labour leader would reverse his Rwanda policy if elected and did not have a plan to deal with the boats

Immigration cropped up repeatedly during the event. Mr Sunak defended his migration policy and said a Labour government would ‘release everyone we’ve detained’ and ‘leave them out on the streets’.

Sir Keir said the backlog of asylum claims would double by the end of the year if the Conservatives were re-elected.

‘There are 50,000 people not being processed. If we carry on with Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister it will get to 100,000 by the end of the year,’ the Labour leader said.

He added that it was ‘outrageous’ to pay hotel bills to accommodate people who are not being processed.

Mr Sunak acknowledged ‘the numbers were too high’ when discussing legal migration, but declined to say who was responsible.

He said: ‘So we’ve got on and delivered lower migration. I’m not going to defend the levels that I inherited because they were just too high.’

It came as Home Office figures showed the number of Channel migrants has hit a record for the first six months of a calendar year at 12,901.

It came as Home Office figures showed the number of Channel migrants has hit a record for the first six months of a calendar year at 12,901.

Asked who was to blame for the figures, Mr Sunak said ‘I’ve been Prime Minister for 18 months’. He was then asked if it was Liz Truss or Boris Johnson’s fault, and replied: ‘The numbers were too high.’

It came as Home Office figures showed the number of Channel migrants has hit a record for the first six months of a calendar year at 12,901.

The previous record for arrivals in the six months from January to June was 12,747 in 2022. In the past six-and-a-half years, 127,246 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel.

Downing Street insisted that the Government continues to ‘bear down’ on small boat crossings.

Home Office minister Michael Tomlinson said the fact that migrants are waiting for Labour is ‘evidence of the deterrent effect’ of the Rwanda plan.

He told Times Radio: ‘The deterrent is not fully in place, but we’re already seeing the effects of that deterrent, and we’ve seen overnight the breaking news from the Telegraph on the front pages, where there are those who are in northern France, who are waiting, delaying their journey because they do not like the Rwanda scheme, they do not want to be deported to Rwanda.

‘And people have been asking me for weeks, for months, where is the evidence of the deterrent effect? Well, there it is, writ large.

‘We saw last month when the Rwanda Act was passed, we saw migrants moving from the United Kingdom into Ireland, we’ve got the evidence literally overnight, from those in northern France.

‘And then, of course, if we vote for the Conservative Party on the fourth of July, the planes are booked, the airstrip is ready, and the planes will take off, and that’s when the full deterrent effect will kick in.’

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