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:
Others said the plan was part of the broad Tory strategy of hatred and division:
One Liberal Democrat peer said there was no mandate for the plan, which his party would continue to oppose:
While others expressed shock that Keir Starmer’s Labour were not voting against the bill:
And Welby was commended for speaking out against the callous details in the bill:
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.