The prime minister made the remarks during Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, before the first deportation flight to Rwanda was prevented from departing. At the same meeting, the prime minister claimed the government would not be deterred from proceeding with the controversial policy.
Lawyers have received death threats after Boris Johnson claimed they were “aiding criminal gangs” for refusing to support his “unlawful” policies.
The Prime Minister has been urged to apologize to legal professionals who have faced a spate of “bullying”.
The first flight to Rwanda was grounded on Tuesday after a series of legal challenges before the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the asylum seekers who were to be sent on a one-way trip to Rwanda.
Hours before the humiliating turn of events for the government, the prime minister acknowledged mounting criticism of the plan but suggested it came mostly from lawyers.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said: “I fear they are undermining everything we are trying to do to support safe and legal ways for people to come to the UK and to crack down on the illegal and dangerous ways.”
He reportedly added, “Criminal gangs do and what … do those who effectively support the work of criminal gangs undermines people’s confidence in the safe and legal system and undermines people’s overall acceptance of immigration.”
Mr Johnson has since been accused of “bullying” lawyers and “inciting hatred” over the controversial plan, which could not go ahead on Tuesday.
Mark Fenhalls, leader of the Bar Council, urged the Prime Minister to “clarify his remarks” after experienced lawyers were faced with life threats.
Speaking to Times Rado, Mr Fenhall said: “I find it a bit annoying when elected politicians make totally unwarranted and unfair attacks and try to undermine the rule of law in the way that was done this week.”
“What seems to be going on is a pattern of attacking lawyers who perpetuate arguments related to policies that the government doesn’t like and it’s a form of bullying,” he added.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman told the Mirror: “The Prime Minister firmly believes that everyone in our legal profession plays an important role in our democracy and any form of abuse or harassment is absolutely unacceptable.
“We expected this to be challenged in court and that is exactly what happened. Now people are able to meet these challenges and I am sure we will see that continue.
“The government is able to robustly defend its decision on these issues in court and in public.
“I have not asked the Prime Minister specifically, he believes that only criminal gangs will benefit the longer we allow these crossings to take place without a proper resolution.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/lawyers-receive-death-threats-after-27253706 Lawyers receive death threats after PM claims they are abetting criminal gangs.