Hello. It looks like you�re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best Tortoise experience possible, please make sure any blockers are switched off and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help, let us know at memberhelp@tortoisemedia.com

Friend of Tortoise Exclusive

How did small boats become such a big issue?

How did small boats become such a big issue?

This event is exclusive to Friends of Tortoise

This is a newsroom ThinkIn. In-person and digital-only tickets are available.

In 2022, 46,000 people crossed the Channel in small boats. In 2019 that number was 539. The crossing is dangerous and the criminal gangs who run the routes are exploiting desperate individuals. The small boat crossings create diplomatic headaches and political nightmares for politicians who try to take control of the situation, and immigration figures have become a hot button issue with voters. 

Successive home secretaries have failed to tackle the problem – so where do we go from here? Are they trying to distract voters from a broader failure on immigration policy? What do we know, what other questions should we be asking, and where should we be looking for answers?


Giles Whittell
Deputy Editor