Thank you to all my constituents who have written to me with deep concerns over the Government’s plans to send those seeking asylum in the UK to offshore detention facilities in Rwanda.
Let me be clear – these proposals are unethical, unworkable and a staggering waste of money. “Offshoring”, as it is known, has been tried in several countries and there is no evidence that it works as a means to reduce the flow of those seeking asylum. What’s more – it’s expensive. Australia has spent £5.5 billion since July 2013 – over £1.7 million per asylum seeker. One of its two centres has shut down and no new people have been sent offshore since 2014. At a time when the Government has increased taxes on working people, is this really a good use of taxpayers’ money?
The UK should be a welcoming and open refuge to those seeking asylum and that should mean taking our responsibilities to house and process applications here in the UK, not in a country with a human rights record as concerning as Rwanda.
What is also clear is that this announcement is a cynical political ploy to divert attention away from the Prime Minister’s own law breaking during the Covid-19 lockdown. According to a piece in the Daily Mirror:
“Senior Tories say Priti Patel was always banking on never having to implement her cruel plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. They claim the Home Secretary hoped it would become so bogged down in legal challenges she would never have to get it off the ground and it would be quietly forgotten. And they say it was only ever intended as a vote sweetening announcement for next month’s local elections.”
This is absolutely disgraceful and shows just how cynical the Tories are. This is a party that has been in power for 12 years and what do they have to show for it? Instead of using dead cat strategies, the Home Secretary should focus on tackling the growing Home Office backlog and delays and drawing up a proper security and migration agreement with France.
I assure you that my Labour colleagues and I will continue to scrutinise this terrible and impracticable plan. We deserve an honest and functional Government going from one crisis to the next.