Simon Hart slammed for defence of Westminster’s Rwanda asylum seekers plans
The leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats has joined other Welsh politicians in condemning the UK Government’s plans to offshore refugees to Rwanda and says the Secretary of State for Wales should be ‘deeply ashamed’ following his defence of the proposals.
Simon Hart, MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, has come under attack following comments he made during a round of media appearances this morning.
The announcement has sparked fury with charities warning that the “cruel and nasty decision” to offshore asylum seekers more than 6,000 miles away will fail to address the issue, lead to more human suffering and chaos and cost up to £1.4 billion (much more than the current asylum system).
When questioned about the policy on Sky News this morning, Welsh Secretary Simon Hart described the move as a “really humane step forward” and described Rwanda’s human rights record as “good” despite his own Government slamming the African country over the issue just last year.
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart says government plans to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing in an attempt to tackle small boat crossings in the English Channel has the potential to be "groundbreaking."https://t.co/vssksMIvl8
📺 Sky 501 and YouTube pic.twitter.com/3ua8xafxUv
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 14, 2022
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “Once again Simon Hart has shown he has absolutely no backbone. He should be deeply ashamed of himself for defending this cruel and unnecessary policy, it is truly a disgrace.
“The Conservative Government’s plan to offshore refugees thousands of kilometres from the UK is unbelievably cruel.
“The fact they plan to offshore them to an authoritarian police state with numerous human rights abuses only makes it even more sickening.
“A US Government report into human rights in Rwanda highlights the arbitrary killings carried out by security forces in Rwanda, alongside forced disappearances, the abuse of those in detention and a complete disregard for the rule of law.
“If that wasn’t enough the scheme will cost up to £1.4 billion a year to implement, much more than the current asylum system.”
Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd tweeted: “The Tories to outsource their international legal duty to refugees to another continent. This government have the humanitarian instincts of hyenas”.
She accused No 10 “tossing red meat to rabid supporters” and scrabbling for a “figleaf” to salvage Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “shredded reputation” after he received his first fine for attending one of the parties at Downing Street during lockdown.
Chris Bryant, Labour MP for Rhondda, who yesterday launched a “blistering” attack on the PM following the ‘Partygate’ fines, accused the Prime Minister of distraction tactics in a series of tweets today: “The Rwanda plan will cost more than putting them up in the Ritz.
“Obviously this announcement should be made in parliament. It only isn’t because the PM is frightened of scrutiny and wants a distraction.
“My bet is the PM will try to get away with a single statement next Tuesday on partygate, Rwanda and Ukraine. The Commons should not allow that conflation. They are discrete issues.”
Tonia Antoniazzi, Labour MP for Gower, said in a tweet “Last year: At the UN, The U.K calls for the Rwandan Government to investigate allegations of human rights violations.
“This year: The U.K Government excitedly prepares to announce plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
“These plans are completely unjustifiable.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.