No migrants cross Channel on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day
Government figures confirm that no migrants made the deadly crossing of the Channel to reach the UK on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day for the first time in five years.
According to Home Office records, there were no new arrivals from small boats over the festive period, which could be explained by poor weather conditions preventing people from making the perilous journey across the sea to Britain.
It also means there have now been 10 consecutive days without any arrivals recorded, making it a first since records began in 2018.
The latest journey, on December 16, saw just one boat carrying 55 people make the journey to the UK from France. In comparison, 90 small boat arrivals were recorded on Christmas Day last year, with none on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day.
However, latest figures tracking the number of small boat arrivals this year so far stands at 29,437, following a record 45,774 illegal migrants making the crossing to the UK in 2022.
The drop in illegal small boat crossings over Christmas is not out of the ordinary, as there was a similar pattern in 2021, with 67 arrivals on December 25 but none on December 24 or 26.
Both 2020 and 2019 saw no action on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but there were crossings on Boxing Day, with seven and 49 arrivals respectively, and in 2018 there were no arrivals on Christmas Eve, 45 on Christmas Day and three on Boxing Day.
The number of crossings this year is 36 per cent down compared to this time last year, with the provisional total for 2023 still lower than 30,000, PA news agency analysis shows.
Last week Rishi Sunak said there was no 'firm date' for meeting his pledge to 'stop the boats' when facing questions from MPs.
Appearing before the Commons Liaison Committee, he was also unable to say when he would clear the backlog of asylum claims, which stood at 109,442 cases at the end of November.
Sunak pledged to clear the backlog of so-called 'legacy' cases, those made before June 28 2022, by the end of 2023.
Asked whether he would meet his pledge, Mr Sunak said: 'We're not at the end of the year yet, so the final statistics haven't been published, but we are making very good progress.'
The rest of the backlog - those applications made on or after June 28 2022 - continues to rise, reaching 91,076 at the end of November.