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15th Apr 2022

Car crash interview with Tory MP shows just how wrong Rwanda asylum flights are

Charlie Herbert

Tory MP gives interview about Rwanda asylum flights

He was confronted with his own party’s words about Rwanda

A Tory MP was left embarrassed after a car crash interview on Friday morning about the plans to fly unwanted asylum seekers in the UK to Rwanda.

Tom Pursglove was appearing on Sky News to discuss the Rwanda asylum flights, when he said that “appalling stereotypes” were being “thrown around” about the east African country.

But the minister was then pulled up on this by host Niall Paterson who proceeded to read out Foreign Office advice about the country, which says: “Homosexuality is not illegal in Rwanda but remains frowned on by many.

“LGBT individuals can experience discrimination and abuse, including from local authorities. There are no specific anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT individuals.”

Paterson then said: “That is the advice given to gay people in this country from the Foreign Office – just round the corner from you!”

When pressed for evidence that most people crossing the Channel in boats to get to the UK were economic migrants, Pursglove was unable to provide any.

It wasn’t the only television appearance the MP made on Friday morning, with Pursglove repeating similar performances on BBC Breakfast and Good Morning Britain.

On Thursday, Boris Johnson detailed his government’s plans that will see migrants “offshored” 4,000 miles away from the UK while they wait for a decision on their asylum application.

It’s believed that the Rwandan government will receive £120m as part of the plans, which the British taxpayer will finance.

The Prime Minister said that the plans will combat the “vile people smugglers” turning the ocean into a “watery graveyard.”

It’s believed that the first migrants could be sent to Rwanda from the UK within ‘weeks.’

The Home Office said on Thursday that the first people to be sent there will be notified in the coming weeks, with the first flights taking place in the following months.

But Andrew Griffith, the director of Number 10’s policy unit, told Newsnight that the scheme could be underway in “weeks.”

He told the programme: “It doesn’t require new legislation, we think we can do this under the existing conventions.

“Therefore, this should be possible to be implemented and operationalised in weeks or a small number of months. We are ready to go in that sense.”

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