Rwanda deportation plan “morally unacceptable” says Archbishop of Canterbury
Senior figures from a range of fields have lined up to slam the Tory’s Rwanda deportation scheme. However, the Tories remain determined to push on with their plans. High-ups in the party have also urged the Lords to let the bill pass unhindered. In a public letter, home secretary Suella Braverman and justice secretary Alex Chalk said:
We urge the House of Lords to look at the Illegal Migration Bill carefully, remember it is designed to meet the will of the British people in a humane and fair way, and back the Bill.
The plans to deport refugees to Rwanda are part of the Illegal Migration Bill, which is currently in the House of Lords. But this week, senior peers, clergymen, and former military officers have had their say – and they’re not holding back.
Justin Welby – the archbishop of Canterbury – addressed the Lords on Wednesday 10 May:
[The bill] is isolationist, it is morally unacceptable and politically impractical to let the poorest countries deal with it alone and cut our international aid.
This is an attempt at a short-term fix. It risks great damage to the UK’s interests and reputation at home and abroad, let alone the interests of those in need of protection or the nations who together face this challenge.
Welby has also previously described the plans as “against the judgement of God”.
A former head of the military also laid into the Tory plans. General Richard Dannatt told the BBC:
The viciousness, and I use that word quite advisedly, of this bill offends many people’s moral position. It runs the risk of offending Britain’s standing in the world, as a country that upholds international law.
Meanwhile, on social media, Tory claims were being debunked. For example, Braverman’s attempt to justify the Rwanda project as an election pledge met with scorn:
Braverman said her Illegal Immigration Bill will fulfil a manifesto promise and is the will of the people.
Lying on both accounts
The manifesto said the government would grant asylum and return asylum seekers to their homes when safe to do so, not send them to Rwanda#ToriesLie pic.twitter.com/PnLMjOaQzQ
— pjmeade (@pjmeade) May 11, 2023
Others said the plan was part of the broad Tory strategy of hatred and division:
Say No To the Tory Illegal migration bill. The bill itself introduced by the Tories is illegal under International Laws.
No To Rwanda.
No To the Climate of fear, hate & division created by the Tories. pic.twitter.com/odDoAuN82f
— Mohammad N Asif (@MohammadAsif_1) May 10, 2023
One Liberal Democrat peer said there was no mandate for the plan, which his party would continue to oppose:
Lib Dems in Lords will today vote to stop the Illegal Migration Bill. Tory manifesto said nothing about child detention, breaking international law or flights to Rwanda. They have no mandate for this.
— Dick Newby (@RichardNewby3) May 10, 2023
While others expressed shock that Keir Starmer’s Labour were not voting against the bill:
So @UKLabour are going to let the Rwanda bill go through unopposed this evening – says all you need to know about Starmer’s Labour #Lazypolitics
— SUSAN SIMPSON #ItWasAScam #NeverTrustaTory (@smartysue) May 10, 2023
And Welby was commended for speaking out against the callous details in the bill:
#IllegalMigration bravo Justin Welby for attacking the callousness and illegality of this appalling bill. As for Rwanda…one of least safe countries in the world. Archbishop so right to speak out denouncing this violation of international law, and it’s cruelty
— Margaret Owen (@ElectionMargie) May 10, 2023
This latest bit of Tory legislation is truly grotesque. It is, after all, the natural outcome of a party and an ideology which tries to frame power, abuse, and cruelty as normal and natural. The fact that even an army general has come out against it tells a story. And while senior priests aren’t the moral arbiters they think they are, Welby is on the mark when he says this bill is a shameful piece of legislation.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Archbishop of Canterbury, cropped to 770 x 403, licenced under CC BY 2.0.
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