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New UK PM Reveals He’ll Scrap Rwanda Migrant Deportation Plan



British Prime Minister Keir Starmer

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer has said he will not continue with the previous Conservative government’s policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, in a move welcomed by rights advocates as long overdue.

“The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. It’s never been a deterrent,” Starmer told his first news conference on Saturday, 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 told reporters after a cabinet meeting, describing the plan as a “problem that we are inheriting”.

Parliament approved the contentious law in April, declaring Rwanda a safe third country, which bypassed an earlier UK Supreme Court ruling that said the scheme was 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.

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.

During his Saturday news conference, Starmer said the Rwanda scheme was widely expected to fail.

“Everyone has worked out, particularly the gangs that run this, that the chance of ever going to Rwanda was so slim – less than 1 percent,” he told reporters.

“The chances were of not going, and not being processed, and staying here therefore in paid-for accommodation for a very, very long time.”


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