Archbishop of Canterbury blows up Boris Johnson’s ‘godless’ refugee plan in Rwanda

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has staged a major intervention against Boris Johnson’s plan to remove desperate refugees – saying: “Subcontracting our responsibility is the opposite of God’s nature.”

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Tom Pursglove clashes with Sky News presenter over Rwanda

Boris Johnson’s plan to force the unwanted British asylum-seekers into Rwanda is “contrary to the nature of God,” the Archbishop of Canterbury said today.

Justin Welby will use his Easter sermon to scathingly rebuke the Prime Minister’s plan to send people arriving on Channel boats on a one-way flight.

In a speech on Thursday, the prime minister vowed to discourage desperate refugees from “jumping in line”, adding: “I know there will be a vocal minority who will find these measures draconian and unsympathetic. I just don’t agree.”

But in his high-profile address at Canterbury Cathedral, the archbishop will say the measures “cannot bear the weight of our national responsibilities as a country steeped in Christian values”.

“Subcontracting our responsibility, even in a country striving for success like Rwanda, is contrary to the nature of God, who has taken responsibility for our failures,” he will say.

The Archbishop is expected to say that there are “serious ethical issues in sending asylum seekers abroad.”

He will add: “The details are for politics. The principle must and cannot withstand the judgment of God.

Justin Welby will use his Easter sermon to deliver a scathing rebuke



“It cannot bear the weight of resurrection righteousness, of life conquering death. It cannot bear the weight of the resurrection, first appreciated by the least, for it privileges the rich and strong.”

As official documents show, the Home Office warned Priti Patel that the policy might not be worth its “high cost” – but she went ahead anyway.

The Home Secretary issued a rare “ministerial directive” to force politics to proceed after a direct warning from Secretary of State Matthew Rycroft.

He wrote: “Policy’s value for money depends on whether it acts as a deterrent.

“Evidence of a deterrent effect is highly uncertain and cannot be quantified with sufficient certainty to give me the necessary assurance of value for money.

“I do not believe that sufficient evidence can be obtained to show that the policy will have a deterrent effect significant enough to make the policy value for money.

A group of people believed to be migrants were taken to Dover, Kent, by the RNLI last week



“It doesn’t mean that the [Rwanda plan] cannot have the appropriate deterrent effect; only that there is insufficient evidence for me to conclude that this will be the case.”

Under the plan, anyone who has arrived in the UK “illegally” as part of a new raid – say, on a Canal dinghy or stowed in a refrigerated lorry – can be considered “inadmissible” to apply for asylum, even if they are genuine is a refugee.

Once the Home Office has made this definition, it will place the person in immigration detention before removing them permanently from the UK on a charter flight of the kind used to deport foreign criminals.

Hope House Hostel in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, housing people after being booted from the UK



Once in Rwanda, they are accommodated in a hostel called Hope House in the capital.

But the Sunday Mirror revealed orphans of Rwanda’s 1994 genocide will lose their homes to make way for refugees being forced out of Britain.

About 22 residents will be evicted from Hope House Hostel to make room for asylum seekers who will be sent to the African country under the proposed scheme.

Boris Johnson wants to send the first flight by the end of May but has accepted the scheme – which critics say is a diversion from Partygate to attract attention in local elections – will be fought in court.

Boris Johnson is accused of fomenting a fight to distract from Partygate


(Getty Images)

Women, LGBT+ people and refugees from Rwanda itself could all be sent to the country under the programme.

But more than 200 people from Rwanda itself have applied for asylum in the UK over the past decade, and 20 have been granted some form of residence permit since 2017.

The UN refugee agency opposed the plans and Robina Qureshi, director of the charity Positive Action in Housing, which fights refugee homelessness, said: “This country’s refugee policy should be clear by now.

“It’s not about saving the skin of refugees, it’s about saving the skin of this government.”

Conservative MPs have backed the plans, claiming the small boat issue is important to voters.

But former child refugee and Labor peer Alf Dubs said ministers would face opposition in the Lords.

In an interview with The Guardian, Lord Dubs said the government was trying to “trample” international agreements.

Priti Patel signed the contract in Rwanda this week, despite warnings from her top official that it might not represent value for money


Agency Anadolu via Getty Images)

He said: “I think it’s a way of getting rid of people that the government doesn’t want and dumping them in a far African country and they won’t have a chance to get out of there again.

“I think that’s a violation of the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees. You can’t just push them around like unwanted people.”

Priti Patel defended the plans, saying she expected other countries to follow Britain’s example, while the Home Office insisted his approach did not breach refugee deals.

Ms Patel said Denmark could be among those replicating the UK government’s ‘blueprint’. “There is no question that I believe the model that we have presented is world class and a world first and it will be used as a blueprint for the future, there is no doubt about that,” said Ms. Patel.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if other countries also came straight to us on this background.”

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