The Home Secretary has insisted the Government is still determined to “stop the boats” as migrant Channel crossings near 10,000 for the year so far.

James Cleverly said people smugglers had changed the way they operate when questioned over why the number of migrants arriving in the UK continued to rise despite the Government’s efforts to curb crossings.

He also sought to blame Labour, accusing the opposition party of delay tactics over the plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Grooming gangs facility at Essex Police Headquarters
Home Secretary James Cleverly said the Government is ‘determined to stop the boats’ (Joe Giddens/PA)

Provisional Home Office figures show 9,874 people have arrived in the UK in 2024 to date after making the journey from France – a new record high for the first five months of a calendar year.

During a visit to Essex Police headquarters, Mr Cleverly said: “We as a Government are determined to stop the boats, to break the people smuggling gangs.”

Smugglers have been “adapting their behaviour in response to the pressure we have put on with regards to the supply of small boats, to the supply of engines and illicit finance”, he said, adding: “Sadly we are seeing more and more migrants forced onto boats, incredibly dangerous, that is why we are determined to break the business model of those people smuggling gangs.”

Labour’s vow to “take things like Rwanda off the table” if the party gained power after the next general election was “a signal to the people smuggling gangs to continue doing what they’re doing”, Mr Cleverly warned.

He added: “The Rwanda scheme has been delayed because of the delaying tactics of the Labour Party.”

“I would have liked to have seen it up and running much earlier, but we are determined to crack down on those people smuggling gangs, we are determined to operationalise Rwanda as part of the measures to protect our borders and make sure facilities like Wethersfield are no longer necessary,” he said.

It comes after Mr Cleverly stressed last week that a “concerted effort” to derail the Rwanda plan through the courts will not prevent planes taking off.

He also said he wants facilities like former RAF base Wethersfield – which is in his Braintree constituency and is being used as an asylum accommodation centre – to “no longer to be needed”.