Tory minister laughs on GMB after being asked if he would 'send ...

A Tory minister was left stumped when asked if Jesus would have been sent to Rwanda under the government's new controversial immigration policy.

Last week, the home secretary Priti Patel announced plans to send asylum seekers thousands of miles away to the African nation where they can apply to settle in the UK.

The plan has been met with backlash from Labour leader Keir Starmer who described the policy as "unworkable" while the UN's refugee agency has said the scheme is an "egregious breach of international and refugee law."

Energy minister, Greg Hands appeared on Good Morning Britain to defend the policy where presenters Kate Garraway and Adil Ray put him in the hot seat by noting criticism from a religious leader.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Garraway began her line of questioning by referring to a comment made by the Archbishop of Canterbury who described the government's refugee plan as "ungodly," and asked Hands what he thought.

"Well, my view is that tough action is needed," he replied. "Last year 28,500 people crossed the Channel illegally as migrants, 27 people died in that process. The people smugglers are really the winners out of all this and the government has rightly said enough is enough, we need a new solution."

He described the controversial policy as "innovative" and added that "critics ought to show us what they think their alternative is."

At this point, Ray chimed in and continued with a religious-related question which noted it was the Easter holidays and referenced Christ.

"Mr Hands, here we are celebrating Easter this weekend, the life and times of Jesus Christ, who was himself a refugee," he noted.

"Under this scheme, your government’s scheme, if he arrived in the UK today, Jesus will be sent to Rwanda. Is that right? Would you send Jesus to Rwanda?"

The question elicited a laugh from Hands who then replied: ‘Look we can debate the Easter story and what happened to Jesus-"

To which Ray injected and told the minister that "it's a simple question."

As Hands tried to outline the government's policy again, Ray slammed him for "not answering the question."

"I’m sorry, I think it’s a ludicrous question," Hands replied.

"We’re 2000 years later and over 28,000 people have made an illegal journey from France to the UK, between two entirely safe countries, 27 people have died. It’s 2000 years after the Easter story," Hands said.

After this tense exchange, Ray moved on to a different question but viewers at home were still discussing the Easter/Jesus themed questions put to Hands - and there were some mixed reactions.

Some people were not impressed with Ray's Jesus question and criticised him on Twitter for it.

While on the other hand, with were others who praised Ray for using the religious example when questioning the Tory minister.

During his Easter Sunday sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby said there are "serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas".

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)