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Rishi Sunak: No Rwandan Flights Before the Election

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24 May 2024

Before the next general election, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has declared that no asylum seekers will be deported to Rwanda under the contentious government program. It was once expected that ministers, as a show of their resolve to stop illegal immigration, would push for the first flight before to election day. On July 4, Sunak has now declared that flights will begin “if I’m re-elected.”

There is uncertainty over whether deportations will take place because the Labour Party has pledged to end the program if it comes to power. This programme, which has already incurred costs of almost £310 million, is anticipated to be a major talking point throughout the six-week election campaign. The Labour Party has denounced the proposal as a “con from start to finish,” citing Sunak’s lack of confidence in its performance and calling the election to avoid scrutiny, according to Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced the program more than two years ago, but it has been delayed in its implementation due to several legal issues. Its significance has been underlined by Sunak, who says it will discourage unauthorized English Channel crossings. He declared that there is only one option in this election: supporting him means supporting stopping the boats.

Sunak’s remarks have been described as a “complete humiliation and admission of defeat” by the Liberal Democrats. Spokesman for Home Affairs Alistair Carmichael called the plan a “disastrous and immoral undertaking.”

After spending an extra £20 million on associated costs on top of the £290 million the government has already invested in Rwanda, the total costs might come to £541 million over the course of five years. Legal impediments are still preventing flying operations from starting by the middle of July, despite prior promises. Among those opposing the idea are the FDA union and the nonprofit organization Asylum Aid, who point out violations of international law and insufficient instructions.

With Sunak’s unexpected statement, the UK is holding its first July election since 1945. The campaign has begun. He defended the timing by saying that the current state of the economy made the vote appropriate. Leaders of the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties will host events as the campaign heats up, while Nigel Farage has officially said he will not run for Reform UK, the party he co-founded in 2018.

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