Rishi Sunak has said his new 'Stop the Boats' policy is a "necessary" and "fair" measure to stop illegal migrants coming into the country in small boats.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman earlier today (Tuesday, March 7) unveiled controversial legislation aimed at discouraging migrants from crossing the Channel illegally.

Mr Sunak, who had earlier visited a Home Office joint control centre in Dover, then laid out the policy in a conference at Downing Street.

The Prime Minister said: “People must know that if they come here illegally, it will result in their detention and swift removal.

Bournemouth Echo: Rishi Sunak said he wanted to create a deterrent to people crossing the ChannelRishi Sunak said he wanted to create a deterrent to people crossing the Channel (Image: PA)

“Once this happens, and they know it will happen, they will not come and the boats will stop.”

He claimed that the number of people arriving in small boats had quadrupled in the past two years and many of those coming to the UK were not coming from war-torn countries.

Sunak says illegal migrants to be removed 'in weeks' 

Mr Sunak said illegal migrants will be deported “in weeks” as he set out plans to laws to curb Channel crossings.

He added: “We will detain those who come here illegally and then remove them in weeks, either to their own country if it is safe to do so, or to a safe third country like Rwanda.

“And once you are removed, you will be banned – as you are in America and Australia – from ever re-entering our country.”

The Prime Minister also confirmed that the legislation would apply retrospectively, affecting everyone arriving in the UK illegally from Tuesday (March 7).

Bournemouth Echo: Rishi Sunak described the measure as 'necessary'Rishi Sunak described the measure as 'necessary' (Image: PA)

He stated: "This Bill provides the legal framework needed to deliver this in a way that no other legislation has done before. This is tough, but it is necessary and it is fair.

“And this legislation will be retrospective. If you come on a small boat today, the measures in this Bill will apply to you.”

Sunak says current laws are not 'compassionate' to refugees

The Prime Minister argued that the current laws allow migrants to “perish” in the Channel, and wants to do all he can to prevent them from taking the journey in the first place.

He said: “There is nothing compassionate about allowing vulnerable people to perish in the Channel. People being exploited by criminal gangs and smugglers.

“There is nothing compassionate or fair about us not being able to help the truly most vulnerable people around the world because our system is being overwhelmed by those who are jumping the queue and coming here illegally.

“And they are not the most vulnerable. They are travelling through multiple safe European countries, they are paying people thousands of pounds to get here.

“I want to move to a system where we break that cycle, we deter people from coming here illegally, jumping the queue, and actually, we as a country can then make sure that we decide who we bring here, how many and make sure we target that compassion, generosity and support on the world’s truly vulnerable.”