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Rwanda migrants latest news: Asylum seeker plan will save UK money, minister insists

Boris Johnson promises to ‘set record straight’ on Partygate fine in parliament next week

Boris Johnson‘s government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda will save the UK money in the “long term”, a minister has insisted after reports suggested it would cost an “eyewatering” £30,000 per person.

Responding to criticism from fellow Tory MP Andrew Mitchell, who said it would be “cheaper to place asylum seekers in the Ritz”, minister Tom Pursglove defended the proposals, which critics have branded “inhumane” and “unworkable”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “As we move forward, we will continue to make contributions to Rwanda as they process the cases, in a manner that is similar to the amount of money we are spending on this currently here in the UK.

“But longer term, by getting this under control, it should help us to save money. We are spending £5m per day accommodating individuals who are crossing in hotels. That is not sustainable and is not acceptable and we have to get that under control.”

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ICYMI: Rwandan asylum seeker plan ‘immoral and impractical’, former Tory cabinet minister says

Boris Johnson’s multi-million pound deal to send asylum seekers to Rwanda while their claims are processed has been condemned as “immoral”, “impractical”, and will involve “astronomic” costs.

Ashley Cowburn has more below:

Matt Mathers15 April 2022 16:00

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Home Office declines to say whether objections were raised by top civil servant over Rwanda asylum policy

It comes after the plan — unveiled by Boris Johnson and Priti Patel on Thursday — provoked a fierce response from charities and claims it could cost taxpayers between £20,000 and £30,000 for each individual sent to the central African country.

Ashley Cowburn and May Bulman report:

Matt Mathers15 April 2022 15:25

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Asylum plan is ‘inhumane and will cost ‘billions during cost of living crisis’

The government’s Rwanda plan is “humane” and will cost UK taxpayers “billions” during the cost of living “crisis”, a Labour MP has said.

Fleur Anderson, who represents Putney in London, also said the plan was a “blatant attempt by the PM to distract from Partygate”.

Matt Mathers15 April 2022 14:35

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ICYMI: What is Rwanda’s record on human rights?

The “offshoring” arrangement with Rwanda, a country 4,300 miles away, will earn the African nation £120m under the initial deal, although its record on human rights has already been raised as a major cause for concern.

Matt Mathers15 April 2022 14:10

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Jeremy Clarkson’s beekeepers raising money to send 4x4s to Ukraine

The first 4×4 bought as part of a fundraising effort for Ukraine backed by Jeremy Clarkson has been delivered ahead of its journey to the war-torn country next week.

Viktor Zaichenko, 48, originally from Ukraine, and his wife Lucy, 55, are the beekeepers at Jeremy Clarkson’s Diddly Squat farm in Oxfordshire.

The pair are raising money to send 4x4s to Ukraine, with the help of Clarkson and his partner Lisa Hogan.

They plan to send the off-road vehicles to help areas of Ukraine cut off from aid.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mrs Zaichenko said: “We just want to get trucks out there which help people.

“It will rescue people, it will get them into hospitals, it will get them to safety.”

Matt Mathers15 April 2022 13:45

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Sturgeon questions Ross’s ability to ‘stand up’ to government

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has questioned Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross’ willingness to stand up to the prime minister after his support for sending some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Home secretary Priti Patel signed a deal with the African country on Thursday, claiming the asylum system is “collapsing under a combination of real humanitarian crises and evil people smugglers”.

Speaking to the PA news agency on Friday, Mr Ross said the policy would help to deter people traffickers.

But Nicola Sturgeon hit out at the Tory leader’s support, telling journalists: “Douglas Ross earlier this year for what seems like five minutes tried to pretend that he had an independence of thought from Boris Johnson and the UK government, but any illusions about that I think had been completely shattered by him.

“If he can’t even find it within himself to stand up and speak out against a policy as disgusting as this then I’m not sure what he will be able to stand up to Boris Johnson or the UK government on.”

Matt Mathers15 April 2022 13:24

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Boris Johnson’s Rwanda plan to ‘solve’ immigration won’t work – this is why

These people have crossed continents and risked everything they own and cherish – including their own lives – to get to Britain, writes Sean O’Grady/

Read Sean’s full piece here:

Matt Mathers15 April 2022 13:00

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Wakefield by-election: Labour gears up for make-or-break battle in former heartland

This city will be the first constituency to vote since Partygate scandal, writes Colin Drury.

Read Colin’s full piece here

Matt Mathers15 April 2022 12:45

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ICYMI: Boris Johnson’s speech on asylum: what he said – and what he meant

Our chief political commentator John Rentoul reads between the lines of the prime minister’s speech in Kent this morning:

Matt Mathers15 April 2022 12:05

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Does anyone else feel like we’re living in an episode of The Thick Of It?

As hilarious as it is to see actors mock our elected officials, it really isn’t so funny when you see these scenarios play out in real life, Emma Clarke writes.

Read Emma’s full piece here:

Matt Mathers15 April 2022 11:42

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