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Rishi Sunak "Confident" About Reducing Number of Migrants Crossing Channel Next Year

Rishi Sunak 'Confident' About Reducing Number of Migrants Crossing Channel Next Year

Rishi Sunak lands in Bali for the G20 summit with world leaders (Alamy)

6 min read

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is "confident" the government can reduce the record numbers of people crossing the Channel next year after signing a major deal with the French government to try to tackle the issue, but "cannot guarantee" it.

Speaking to Sky News in Indonesia, where he arrived this morning to attend the G20 summit, Sunak said he could not promise that he could bring down the number of migrants crossing the Channel from 40,000 next year. 

"It is not a single thing that will magically solve this, we can't solve this overnight," he said, but added that since he became prime minister the UK has seen "progress" with a new deal with France. 

"There's a range of things I'm working on, including the French deal, where I'm confident we can bring the numbers down over time and that's what I am going to deliver."

The new deal, signed by Home Secretary Suella Braverman in Paris on Monday, will see a 40 per cent boost in the number of officers patrolling beaches in northern France and British staff embedded in French control rooms for the first time.   

Sunak told reporters on board the plane to the G20 summit: "I do think that the absolute priority that British people have right now, as do I, is to grip illegal migration.

"I made that commitment that I would grip it in the summer and I can tell you all I have spent more time working on that than anything else other than the autumn statement over the past couple of weeks."

He said he was going to take the opportunity at the G20 summit to "unequivocally condemn Putin's illegal and hostile war on Ukraine."

Commenting on the instability caused by Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng's mini-budget, he said: "Stability has returned to the United Kingdom."

As MPs return to Parliament today after a brief recess, here is everything you need to know: 

Home Secretary strikes a deal with France to tackle immigration

Suella Braverman has signed a deal with her French counterpart to work together on tackling illegal immigration, which will see UK officers embedded in French border control for the first time and investment in infrastructure and technology to help officers prevent small boat crossings across the Channel. 

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told Sky News the ultimate aim of the new migrants deal with France is to "completely" stop illegal Channel crossings but said: "We have to be realistic that the people traffickers are working incredibly hard to try and beat law enforcement. We need to work just as hard to counter their illegal activities."

Prime Minister arrives at G20

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has landed in Bali for the G20 summit, where tomorrow he will meet world leaders to discuss a range of economic and geopolitical crises facing their countries following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The summit marks the first face-to-face meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese president Xi Jinping since Biden took office in 2021. 

Reports from AP say Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was taken to hospital shortly after arriving in Bali. The Russian foreign ministry dismissed claims that he had been in hospital as "fake news".

Foreign Secretary would “consider” going to Qatar World Cup if he was gay

James Cleverly told ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB) that LGBT+ football fans going to Qatar for the World Cup should  “respect the culture of your host nation”, and when ashed whether he would feel safe travelling there if he was gay, he said “would consider” it. 

The Qatar hosts have been widely criticised for human rights abuses, and a 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup Ambassador described homosexuality as “damage in the mind” in a TV interview.

Chancellor warns of £70 billion government borrowing increase

Ahead of the Autumn Statement on Thursday, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has warned that UK government borrowing will increase by £70 billion, as the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) will set out a grim outlook for the economy in its forecast published alongside the statement. 

The statement will announce a series of real-term spending cuts and tax rises, as well as energy handouts for pensioners and benefit claimants.

The Times revealed 28 Conservative MPs wrote to the Chancellor asking him to spare schools from spending cuts, saying it “would not be morally right” to cut funding for the sector after the disruption caused by the pandemic. 

Prime Minister backs Dominic Raab despite bullying claims

Rishi Sunak has defended Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, saying he was not aware and does not recognise allegations of bullying that multiple civil servants have directed towards Raab. 

Ministry of Justice sources said he had created a "culture of fear" in the department, with claims that he was "rude and aggressive" towards staff and even once hurled a tomato across a room in a fit of rage. 

Sunak told reporters aboard his plane to the G20 summit: “I don’t recognise that characterisation of Dominic and I’m not aware of any formal complaints about him.”

The Prime Minister's spokesperson said he has "confidence" in Dominic Raab.

"People in public life should treat others with consideration and respect and those are the principles that this government will stand by," they said. 

"This government will have integrity, professionalism, and accountability at every level operationally."

MP calls for public inquiry into police racism and misogyny

Gwent Police in Wales is being investigated after The Sunday Times revealed "abhorrent" messages between serving and retired officers, and an MP in the area said a public inquiry is needed to “rebuild public confidence” in the police. 

Ruth Jones, Labour MP for Newport West, said: "Misogyny, racism, abuse, corruption. These are all things that must be investigated thoroughly and quickly.

"We all have constituents that are concerned about this issue. We want a full investigation. No stone left unturned."

Whatsapp and Facebook messages found on a dead police officer’s phone after his death showed discussions between him and other officers about the sexual harassment of junior female colleagues, racist, homophobic and misogynistic abuse, and the leaking of sensitive police material.

First death sentence issued over Iran protests 

A court in Iran has sentenced someone to death for taking part in the widespread protests against the government. 

The protests began two months ago after the death of a young woman in custody who was detained by morality police for allegedly breaking Iran’s strict hijab rules.

Human Rights Watch say at least 326 protesters, including 43 children and 25 women, have so far been killed in a violent crackdown by security forces.

In Parliament…

MPs return to the Commons today after a brief parliamentary recess, sitting at 2:30pm to start with questions to the Home Secretary, followed by general debates on the Australia and New Zealand trade deals and on Ukraine.

Amid allegations that he bullied his staff, Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab will be stepping in for the Prime Minister at PMQs on Wednesday, as Sunak attends the G20 summit. 

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