Rishi hails minor drop in small boat arrivals compared to last year – just as crossings hit new daily record for 2023

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, left, speaks with journalists on his plane during his flight from London to Vilnius, Lithuania, where he will attend a NATO Summit, Tuesday July 11, 2023. (Paul Ellis/Pool Photo via AP)

A MINOR drop in the rate of small boat arrivals is still a “better result than anyone expected”, Rishi Sunak declared today.

The PM this morning hit back at criticism that thousands of migrants are still crossing the Channel every month.

Rishi Sunak defended his efforts to stop the boats on flight from London to Vilnius, Lithuania, where he will attend a NATO Summit

But he admitted meeting his pledge to stop the boats “is not going to be easy” and vowed: “I am not going to rest until we solve this problem.”

There has been a small decrease in the number of illegal migrants arriving compared to last year.

However, another 1,300 small boat migrants headed to Britain just last weekend — while ministers prepared to climb down on their new migration law.

Chalking it up as a win, Mr Sunak said: “I remember when I came in what people were saying was going to happen because if you look at the trajectory of increase year after year after year, the numbers have been going up very sharply.

“The fact they were down for five months of the year, the fact they are still down even if it is less compared to what people were expecting is really a much better result than anyone was expecting.”

Mr Sunak has made stopping the boats one of his five sacred pledges to the nation.

Speaking to reporters en route to the Nato summit in Lithuania, he would not say what ultimate success would look like.

He insisted the Illegal Migration Bill was one of the “toughest” pieces of legislation despite ministers braced to swallow Lords amendments softening it.

And he hailed a recent returns deal with Albania and was “very confident” the Rwanda plan would be given the green light in the Supreme Court.

Attacking the evil people smuggling crossings, the defiant PM said: “I am not going to rest until we solve this problem.

“It is not going to be easy, it’s not going to happen overnight and there are lots of different facets to it, but I am going to continue giving it everything I’ve got, across the board to sort it out.”