Keir Starmer says scrapping UK’s Rwanda migrant deportation plan | News

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer says his government will not continue with the previous Conservative government’s policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

“The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. It’s never been a deterrent,” Starmer tells his first news conference, after his Labour Party won a landslide in the general election.

“I’m not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don’t act as a deterrent,” he says, describing it as a “problem that we are inheriting”.

“Everybody has worked out, particularly the gangs that run this, that the chance of ever going to Rwanda was so slim, less than 1 percent, that it was never a deterrent and the chances were not going, and not being processed and staying here … in paid for accommodation for a very very long time,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

The contentious law was approved by Parliament in April, declaring Rwanda to be a safe third country, bypassing an earlier UK Supreme Court ruling that said the scheme unlawful on human rights grounds. The authorities started detaining asylum seekers in May.

Then-Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who promised to stop migrants and asylum seekers arriving on small boats from mainland Europe, had pushed for the policy. And when faced with opposition in Parliament said in April: “No ifs, no buts. These flights are going to Rwanda.”

Tens of thousands of asylum seekers – many fleeing wars and poverty in Africa, the Middle East and Asia – have reached Britain in recent years by crossing the English Channel in small boats on risky journeys organised by people-smuggling gangs.

More to come…

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