UK GOVERNMENT plans to forcibly remove some asylum seekers to Rwanda in a bid to deter others thinking of making the journey have been branded “a total failure” after 696 people crossed the Channel in small boats on Monday. 

That is the busiest day of the year so far and only the second time in 2022 the daily figure has topped 600.

It now means that the number of people making the crossings in 2022 stands at around 17,095. At the equivalent point in 2021, the cumulative total was just under 9,500.

Three months ago, Home Secretary Priti Patel signed what she described as a “world-first” agreement with Rwanda worth around £120m. 

Under the terms of the deal, the east African country nation will receive migrants deemed by the UK to have arrived “illegally.”

However, the first flight to Rwanda, which was due to take off on 14 June was grounded at the 11th hour after an interim ruling from the European court of human rights.

A high court hearing is scheduled for September to determine the lawfulness of the policy.

Both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have promised to double down on the policy if they become the next Prime Minister. 

The SNP’s Shadow Home Secretary, Stuart McDonald described it as a “headline-grabbing gimmick”.       

He said: “That so many people are willing to embark on the dangerous crossing over the channel in search of a better life shows the desperate state many refugees and asylum seekers have been forced into through no fault of their own.       

“It makes it all the more outrageous that when refugees and asylum seekers successfully arrive in the UK they are treated with hostility by the UK government through appalling policies such as attempts at deportation to Rwanda that strip human beings of their dignity and breach international law.       

“These are people who need protection, homes, support, and the chance to contribute to our economy and society, not gunboats, detention centres and deportation.     

"As well as being a shocking policy and abandonment of our international obligations, the numbers continuing to cross show that the so-called deterrent effect of the Rwanda policy is also a total failure. 

“As the Home Affairs Committee recently said, too often the home office pushes headline-grabbing gimmicks instead of fixing the broken asylum system."