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Priti Patel defends Rwanda plan amid growing backlash

18 Apr 2022 5 minute read
Home Secretary Priti Patel. Photo PA Images

Priti Patel has challenged those against her plan to send migrants to Rwanda to come up with a better idea to tackle small boat crossings in the Channel.

Writing a joint article in The Times with Rwandan foreign minister Vincent Biruta, the Home Secretary reiterated that her controversial plans were “bold and innovative” after opposition politicians, religious leaders and human rights campaigners slammed the move.

First Minister Mark Drakeford describe the plans announced on Thursday as “cruel and inhumane” and “not the way to treat people seeking safety and sanctuary” and Liz Saville Roberts, the leader of Plaid Cymru’s Westminster group, added the government “have the humanitarian instincts of hyenas”

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said the scheme “is unbelievably cruel” adding, “The fact they plan to offshore them to an authoritarian police state with numerous human rights abuses only makes it even more sickening.”

Responding to the issue on Twitter, Welsh Government advisor Nazir Afzal said: “When your plan to transport people seeking refuge here in the U.K. to Rwanda is not only Unlawful, Immoral, Unethical, Expensive & Ineffective but also UNGODLY then perhaps you should question your judgment.”

He also posted:

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the plans were ungodly in his Easter sermon on Sunday, while his counterpart in York also used his sermon to deride the idea as “so depressing and distressing”.

But in the joint article, Ms Patel and Mr Biruta said: “We are taking bold and innovative steps and it’s surprising that those institutions that criticise the plans fail to offer their own solutions.”

Earlier, Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg had suggested that the Archbishop of Canterbury had misunderstood the aims of the policy.

Ethical questions

Mr Welby said there are “serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas”.

He said: “The details are for politics. The principle must stand the judgment of God, and it cannot. It cannot carry the weight of resurrection justice, of life conquering death. It cannot carry the weight of the resurrection that was first to the least valued, for it privileges the rich and strong.”

He was joined in his criticism by the Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, who said: “We can do better than this.”

He added: “After all, there is in law no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker. It is the people who exploit them that we need to crack down on, not our sisters and brothers in their need. We don’t need to build more barriers and cower in the darkness of the shadows they create.”

But speaking on Radio 4’s The World This Weekend programme, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “I think he misunderstands what the policy is trying to achieve, and that it isn’t an abandonment of responsibility, it is in fact a taking on of a very difficult responsibility.

“The problem that is being dealt with is that people are risking their lives in the hands of people traffickers, to get into this country illegally. Now, it’s not the illegal bit of it, it is the encouragement of people traffickers that needs to be stopped.”

He said “90% of people coming are young men who by coming via people traffickers are jumping the queue for others”.

Mr Rees-Mogg added: “They are in doing so not only risking their lives but supporting organised crime. What we need to do is focus on legal routes into this country, of which there are quite a number.”

Some Conservative MPs took to Twitter to say religious leaders should stay out of politics, suggesting the two archbishops had overstepped the mark.

Sympathy

However Tory MP for Sutton Coldfield and former minister Andrew Mitchell said although he had “enormous sympathy” with the Government, the policy was unlikely to achieve its aims.

He said: “What I’m worried about with the Rwanda policy is it won’t achieve what they are after, it’s also likely to be horrendously expensive, and we have to have a great care at this time for taxpayers’ money.”

He added: “The public are right to say we do not want feckless benefits seekers masquerading as economic migrants trying to come to our country illegally and without permission and of course, we all sign up to that.

“And if they’re processed here, and they’re found not to have a case for asylum, then by all means, send them off to a third country that will take them.

“But the danger is that we won’t be doing what we have always done since the 16th and 17th century with the Huguenots through the Syrians, as I said, under David Cameron, through the Ukrainians now. We won’t have been a beacon in a terrible and difficult world for those fleeing persecution who can always rely upon the Brits – where they are genuinely fleeing persecution – to come to the rescue.”

Ms Patel said she expects other countries to follow the UK’s example, suggesting Denmark could be among those to reproduce the Government’s “blueprint”, while the Home Office insisted its approach is not in breach of refugee agreements.


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Ann
Ann
5 months ago

I have got a better idea! The money is spent on increasing Home Office staff to enable faster processing of the claims of asylum seekers who are already here so that they can contribute to our economy. They should also allow those who are stuck in Calais waiting for traffickers to begin the process of claiming asylum here and then get them over by safe routes to complete the application process. End of illegal traffic.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
5 months ago

Patel is a tory and defends the illegal occupation of the Golan Heights, why wouldn’t she be ok with people trafficking?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

I can recall her resigning her position as International Development Secretary after secretly holidaying at the expense of the israeli Government. She is as corrupt as they come. A typical do as I say not as I do Conservative Unionist. Also, as mentioned in my post. In 2013 Patel along with Domanic Rabb, Liz Truss, Kwasi Kwateng & Chris Skidmore co-wrote a book called ‘Britainnia Unchained’ in which they referred to the British worker, and I quote: “Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world.” And the same far-right English extremists then asked… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Y Cymro
Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
5 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

I think you missed the real reason she quit was not because of her overt support of illegal occupation in defiance of UN directives. She quit because she was caught visiting an Israeli Defence Force hospital set up to treat ISIS fighters injured by Assad’s forces.
She supported the head-cutters, that’s why May told her to go.

Llinos
Llinos
5 months ago

Ohmygod the woman really is evil incarnate. Either that or a sociopath who does not understand human empathy. Either way, she is in the wrong job. Put this witch into Liz Truss’s job. Inflict her on Russia for a few months instead of the cheese queen and I think even Putin would think twice.

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
5 months ago
Reply to  Llinos

If she got anywhere near dealing with Russia, WW3 would be raging within a few weeks, she is poison and has no place in modern politics.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

The road from Gujarat via Uganda to Essex is worth a PhD, and would help explain the Home Sec’s mindset. A cursory glance suggests that Priti Patel is consumed by the desire for revenge for their expulsion in 1972…

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
5 months ago

Why don’t you guys and gels on here demand a people’s referendum on this question?

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
5 months ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

Are you trying to say you agree with this policy?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

No need for a costly referenda. The debate is not just a simple black & white choice between yes & no, although seeing most want to open up their homes to white blue eyed blond haired Ukrainians while favouring sending all the black skinned non-Christian refugees 6,000 miles away to Uganda, telling.

Last edited 5 months ago by Y Cymro
Finn
Finn
5 months ago
Reply to  I.Humphrys

We know which way that would go, and the majority opinion would be considered ‘dangerous’ and completely unacceptable.

Democracy has its limits!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago

Priti Patel is a horrible woman. People forget, besides being the daughter of economic migrants of Ugandan-Indian origin, a right-wing lover of Thatcherite extremism, also championed Brexit, but co-write a book with Dominic Rabb stating how lazy the British worker was. As said, Priti by name ugly by nature.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

The £100,000 gift she recently received from a hedge fund manager needs to be investigated…

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
5 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

It’ll likely be investigated by Boris Johnson. Enough said

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

I will get back to you on this…there is plenty more to be said…

Quornby
Quornby
5 months ago

This policy has only one purpose….. to bolster the bigot vote.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
5 months ago
Last edited 5 months ago by Kerry Davies
Hywel Davies
Hywel Davies
5 months ago

. The decision to send asylum seekers who arrive in the UK to Rwanda is designed to move public attention away from the huge problems that face the Johnson government. It appeals to everything that is worst in our natures. Instead of seeking humane solutions to tragic problems the UK government wilfully exports pain. In the manner of colonial powers through the ages it seeks to exploit the poverty of a small African nation, procuring services elsewhere that should be provided at home. . I lived in Rwanda for two years and know both its achievements and its frailty. It… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
5 months ago

“hyenas” …mmm…..Liz has a talent for finding the right word.

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
5 months ago

1. Stop supplying the wars and conflicts that force people to move.
2. Provide viable accommodation and rapid processing of claims.
3. Look ar providing training education and welfare to allow their adaption to life in The Disunited Kingdom.

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