UK plan to fly asylum-seekers to Rwanda draws outrage
A Tory minister avoided answering whether or not he would live in Rwanda six times during an awkward interview this morning.
Tom Pursglove a minister at the Home Office and Ministry of Justice, appeared on Good Morning Britain to defend the government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda and was challenged by host Adil Ray who asked him if he would be comfortable moving to Rwanda himself… several times.
“Would you move your family to Rwanda? If you had to, could you go live in Rwanda?” Ray asked.
Pursglove said he didn’t “think that is relevant”, but Ray responded: “Of course it’s relevant.”
Pursglove attempted to elaborate, but Ray continued: “If it’s not good enough for you why is it good enough for a Syrian or Afghan refugee? It’s got to be somewhere that we think is safe, these are human beings, these are people who come to us for help.”
“You wouldn’t go to Rwanda, would you?” Ray asked.
Pursglove said: “Our position is very clear that we never put people in danger…” but Ray interjected several times to ask if he would live in Rwanda.
Pursglove responded: “I am somebody who is a British citizen and lives in the United Kingdom legally… that is not a direct comparison.”
As he spoke, he was again asked if he would live in Rwanda. Ray pressed on, and tried a different angle: “Why are you asking somebody to live in a country that you wouldn’t live in yourself?”
Pursglove explained: “The situation with regard to Rwanda is that this is a country that has existing relationships with the UNHCR who place refugees in that country.”
Ray interjected: “Let’s send thousands of people at a cost of billions of pounds to a country that you, in charge of illegal migration in this country, wouldn’t even go to yourself.”
Pursglove insisted that is not the case and added: “I would happily go to Rwanda.”
Ray asked where in Rwanda he would live, and asked if he ha3s a place in mind.
At that point, the connection dropped and Pursglove’s feed began to freeze.
Before the connection cut, Pursglove managed to say that he would be “happy to visit Rwanda” and added: “What is not okay… to allow evil, criminal gangs to continue to exploit people and put their lives at risk…”
The feed then completely froze, bringing the interview to an end.
Ray commented: “I think he said he was happy to visit Rwanda, I wasn’t sure whether he said he was happy to live in Rwanda but we don’t know. But I think there was a hesitation.”
Adil Ray: would you move your family to Rwanda? \n\nTom Pursglove(HO Minister): That's not relevant\n\nAdil Ray: Of course it's relevant, if it's not good enough for you, why is it good enough for a Syrian or Afghan refugee\n\nThe broadband magically failed at this point\n\n#GMBpic.twitter.com/CHnhKYiYRf
Conservative former cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell said the plan to send migrants to Rwanda was “immoral” and involved “eye-watering” costs.
The former international development secretary told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he recognised that ministers were attempting to tackle “what is a terrible problem” after 28,000 people came to the UK “illicitly” in 2021.
Mr Mitchell said: “The government is quite rightly trying to break the smugglers’ sordid and deathly model, and so I am absolutely behind them in doing that.
“The problem with the scheme that they have announced is that I don’t think it will work.
“It is impractical, it is being condemned by churches and civil society, it is immoral and, above all for conservative advocates, it is incredibly expensive.
“The costs are eye-watering. You’re going to send people 6,000 miles into central Africa – it looked when it was discussed in Parliament before that it would actually be cheaper to put each asylum seeker in the Ritz hotel in London.”
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.