A GOVERNMENT minister consistently confused Albania with Romania during an interview about immigration on Radio 4.

Mel Stride, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, was asked about Rishi Sunak's pledge to “stop the boats”.

He explained: “What we’ve got to do is use a number of measures all aimed at breaking the model. The model being those trafficking gangs who are taking often quite substantial amounts of money from people that are coming over and going across the short Dover Straits.

“We for example had a deal with Romania which has now meant that by returning people straight away to Romania the number of Romanians coming here has dropped.”

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It was then pointed out to Stride by the presenter that he in fact meant Albania. The UK Government agreed a deal with the country in a bid to cut migration numbers. 

Stride replied: “Sorry I do mean Albania; I beg your pardon.”

However, he then made the same mistake again as he was quizzed on reducing the number of people coming to the UK via small boats.

He said that there was a deal with Romania before stumbling over his words and having it pointed out to him once again by the presenter that the deal was in fact with Albania. 

Many on Twitter were quick to point out the error with one saying the interview was “not very impressive” while a second added that it was an “embarrassing mistake”.

It comes as the UK Government faces further hurdles as its Illegal Migration Bill returns to the Commons.

MPs will vote on Tuesday on changes backed by the House of Lords after the draft legislation suffered 20 defeats in the upper chamber.

The bill is central to Rishi Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats” – one of five key commitments for his leadership.

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Critics of the legislation, including the SNP, have argued it is morally unacceptable and unworkable.

The bill will see those who arrive in the UK without Government permission detained and removed, either to their home country or somewhere else, such as Rwanda – the plans for which are now set for a battle at the Supreme Court.