'That is a lie!' Asylum campaigner clashes with TalkTV presenter over immigration

More than 18,000 migrants have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel so far this year.

Home Office data shows 661 people made the journey in 15 boats on Monday, the third highest daily total for 2023 to date.

This takes the provisional total for the year so far to 18,618, according to PA news agency analysis of the Government figures.

This is about 13% below the equivalent number at this point last year, when there had been more than 21,300 arrivals.

Asylum campaigner Zoe Gardner said it is a “lie” there are safe and accessible routes to the UK for refugees during a debate with TalkTV's Nick de Bois who claimed the UK provided legal avenues for asylum seekers.

Ms Gardner said: “The number of people who've been able to benefit from a safe route to the UK from Afghanistan is 54.

“So it's just a lie that there are safe routes available, you are living in the past and there is no way for a Syrian to come here today, none at all.”

Mr De Bois replied: "It's acknowledged by parliamentary select committees that there are routes to come in here and there is a huge debate as to whether those routes are working or not.

“I hope you can go and give evidence to those parliamentary select committees and put your point of view over because I would suggest you are wrong and you are exaggerating.”

Meanwhile, campaigners are planning to send thousands of postcards to child asylum seekers after murals of cartoon characters at a migrant reception centre in Kent were painted over earlier this year.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick came under fire for the decision, which featured characters including Mickey Mouse and Baloo from The Jungle Book.

He had reportedly felt they were too “welcoming”, although he told Parliament in July they were painted over because they were not “age appropriate” for the majority of the young people staying there.

Rima Amin, who started the Cartoons Not Cruelty campaign, said: “To say that the cartoons were not age appropriate fails to recognise the 9,300 under-14s that arrived in the UK just last year.

“That’s why we’re sending 9,300 postcards. The power of a simple postcard cannot be underestimated in brightening a child’s day and conveying the message that they are seen and valued.

“While we continue to call for the cartoons to be restored, we understand the immediate need to ensure that no child is deprived of a warm and compassionate welcome.”