New UK leader Starmer declares Rwanda deportation plan ‘dead and buried’


New Government Abandons Controversial Rwanda Plan

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Starmer Declares Policy Ineffective, Pledges Tough Decisions Ahead

LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) – In his first major policy announcement since securing a landslide election victory, Britain’s new Prime Minister Keir Starmer declared on Saturday that he would scrap the contentious plan to fly thousands of asylum seekers from Britain to Rwanda.

Initially introduced by the previous Conservative government in 2022, the plan aimed to send migrants arriving in Britain without permission to the East African nation to deter small boat crossings. However, legal challenges prevented any asylum seekers from being relocated under the scheme.

At his first press conference as Prime Minister, Starmer criticized the Rwanda policy, noting that it would have impacted only about 1% of asylum seekers and failed as a deterrent. “The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. It’s never been a deterrent,” he stated. “I’m not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don’t act as a deterrent.”

Starmer, who secured one of the largest parliamentary majorities in modern British history, now faces significant challenges, including improving public services and reviving the economy. Despite fielding numerous questions about his plans, he provided few specifics on immediate actions.

Addressing whether he would take tough decisions, including potential tax increases, Starmer emphasized the need for early and honest decision-making, especially in areas like the overstretched prison system and long health service waiting times. “We’re going to have to take the tough decisions and take them early, and we will,” he affirmed.

Starmer also announced plans to establish and chair “mission delivery boards” focusing on key areas such as health services and economic growth.

Election Issue

The issue of asylum seekers crossing from France was a central theme in the recent six-week election campaign. Supporters of the Rwanda plan argued it would disrupt people traffickers, while critics labeled the policy as immoral and impractical. The UK Supreme Court declared the policy unlawful last November, leading to new treaties and legislation aimed at circumventing this ruling, though these efforts faced further legal challenges.

The British government has already invested hundreds of millions of pounds in Rwanda to prepare for asylum seekers, funds it cannot recover. In response, Starmer proposed creating a Border Security Command to combat people smuggling through coordinated efforts with international agencies.

Sonya Sceats, CEO of Freedom from Torture, praised Starmer’s decision. “We applaud Keir Starmer for moving immediately to close the door on this shameful scheme that played politics with the lives of people fleeing torture and persecution,” she said.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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