Boris Johnson defends Rwanda migrants policy with first flight set to leave

The Prime Minister rejected criticism of the plan to send asylum seekers on a one-way trip to Rwanda.

14 June 2022

Boris Johnson accused lawyers representing migrants of “abetting the work of criminal gangs” as he defended the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda ahead of the expected first flight on Tuesday.

The plans have been challenged in the courts and condemned by the Church of England’s senior bishops and reportedly by the Prince of Wales, with the Prime Minister acknowledging that there had been criticism from “some slightly unexpected quarters”.

But he insisted the Government would not be deterred by the attacks “not least from lawyers” and told his Cabinet ministers that “we are going to get on and deliver” the plan.

Opening the Cabinet meeting in No 10, Mr Johnson said there was a “huge amount of attack” aimed at the policy.

“What is happening with the attempt to undermine the Rwanda policy is that they are, I’m afraid, undermining everything that we’re trying to do to support safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK and to oppose the illegal and dangerous routes.

“That is what we are trying to do, that is the essence of our policy.

“And I think that what the criminal gangs are doing and what those who effectively are abetting the work of the criminal gangs are doing is undermining people’s confidence in the safe and legal system, undermining people’s general acceptance of immigration.”

The Prime Minister added: “We are not going to be in any way deterred or abashed by some of the criticism that is being directed upon this policy, some of it from slightly unexpected quarters.

“We are going to get on and deliver.

“The objective is to ensure that we make that clear distinction, that I think everybody can see is fair and reasonable, between legal immigration to this country by safe and legal routes, which we support and uphold and protect because we all understand the benefits that it brings, and distinguishing that from dangerous and illegal cross-Channel migration which we intend to stop.”

The first flight removing asylum seekers to Rwanda will take off no matter how few people are on board, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said.

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