Under-pressure Rishi Sunak to address nation on ‘stop the boats’ pledge TODAY

Laura Kuennsberg quizzes Jenrick about migration challenge

Rishi Sunak will today address the nation on his promise to stop small boats with backlash to the issue growing from his own backbenchers.

In a speech in Dover, the Prime Minister will give an update on progress made in the six months since he unveiled the pledge.

Mr Sunak made curbing Channel crossings one of his top five priorities for his premiership.

In his speech at 11am, he is expected to cite a sharp decline in the number of Albanians making the dangerous journey as evidence the Government’s tough stance is working.

Albanians made up around a third of those arriving via small boats last year but a deportation deal has seen the numbers plummet.

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But he will also admit there is “more to be done” and is expected to announce further details on plans to move migrants out of expensive hotels.

It comes as the Illegal Migration Bill returns to the Lords today for further debate as part of the committee stage.

The bill aims to ensure those who arrive in the UK without permission will be detained and promptly removed, either to their home country or a third country such as Rwanda.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick yesterday said the UK asylum system is “riddled with abuse” and must be changed “fundamentally”.

Mr Jenrick said the Illegal Migration Bill will alleviate the pressure.

He told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: “That will create the deterrent we desperately need, it will break the business model of the people smuggle gangs and it will stop the system from coming under intolerable pressure like it is today.”

A record 45,728 people crossed the English Channel on small boats last year.

So far this year, more than 7,600 have made the perilous journey.

The Conservatives are also under pressure on legal migration, after it soared to a record high of 606,000 last year despite Tory pledges to bring it down.

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