Sending asylum seekers to Rwanda will lead to fights at airports, says the minister

Sending asylum seekers to Rwanda will lead to fights at airports, says the minister

A group of migrants arriving in Dover
A group of migrants arriving in Dover

Tory plans to send canal boat migrants to Rwanda will provoke violent clashes at airports, a former cabinet minister warned today.

Former International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell feared asylum seekers would violently resist attempts to put them on planes bound for Britain to East Africa.

“It will be very difficult to transport them because we know people will fight to stop getting on planes,” he told the BBC.

“It’s extremely difficult to get people who are desperate and don’t want to get on a plane to fly.”

The government plans to charter planes to fly boat migrants to Rwanda, sources say.

Andrew Mitchell chairs the all-party parliamentary group on Rwanda



But Mr Mitchell said RAF aircraft were needed to put pressure on our stretched air force.

He warned: “You will not be able to use civilian aircraft, you will have to use military aircraft. Our military aircraft are needed for other purposes.”

He also said the cost would be “astronomical,” “eye-watering,” and “incredibly expensive.”

Mr Mitchell, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on Rwanda, continued: “I don’t think so [the scheme] will work.

Babies were among the migrants brought to Dover today



“It’s impractical, condemned by churches and civil society, immoral and — especially for conservative advocates — incredibly expensive.” The costs are breathtaking.

“When it was previously discussed, it looked like it would actually be cheaper to house every asylum seeker at the Ritz Hotel in London.”

Meanwhile, Illegal Migration Minister Tom Pursglove was confronted with his own government’s warnings about Rwanda in a car crash interview today.

The Tory lamented that “terrifying stereotypes” had been spread about the east African country this week.

But Sky News presenter Niall Paterson questioned his claim, citing advice from the State Department.

He said: “Homosexuality is not illegal in Rwanda, but is frowned upon by many. LGBT people can experience discrimination and abuse, including from local authorities.

“That’s the advice for gay people in this country from the Foreign Office, just around the corner from you!”

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