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A GMB debate on government plans to send migrants to Rwanda descended into chaos today after a minister was bizarrely grilled on whether he would send Jesus to the African country.
Presenter Adil Ray posed the weird question to Tory MP Greg Hands on Good Morning Britain as more migrants have flocked to the UK after dangerous journeys over the Channel on the bank holiday weekend.
That is despite the risk of being deported to Rwanda, a scheme the Government hopes will stop migrants falling victim to people smugglers and instead use legal methods to gain entry.
The Government announced last week it plans to provide failed asylum seekers, including those crossing the Channel in small boats, with a one-way ticket to the African country more than 4,000 miles away.
It has said the £120million five-year plan would help to break people-smuggling networks and stem the flow of migrants across the Channel, which has faced immediate and heavy criticism from politicians and charities.
GMB’s Adil Rey said on the show this morning: ‘Here we are celebrating Easter this weekend.
‘The life and times of Jesus Christ who himself was a refugee.
‘Under this scheme, Priti Patel’s and Boris Johnson’s government scheme, if he arrived in the UK today, Jesus would be sent to Rwanda.’
He asked Mr Hands: ‘Would you send Jesus to Rwanda?’
The Minister replied: ‘We can debate the Easter story and what happened or did not happen to Jesus.
‘The point is this is the government’s policy 2,000 years later.’
He added : ‘2,000 years later 28 thousand people have made an illegal journey from France to the UK, between two entirely safe countries, and 27 people have died’.
Twitter users were quick to hit out at the presenter. Social media user Stephanie said: ‘Would you send Jesus to Rwanda lol, what a stupid question.’
Meanwhile Martyn Murphy said: ‘JESUS to Rwanda is the deal I wasn’t expecting to hear this morning’ and Andrew Poyntz-Roberts criticised Ray’s ‘ridiculous questioning’.
Greg Hands was faced with a bizarre question as to whether the Tories would send Jesus to Rwanda if he arrived in the UK
As Brits across the country celebrate Easter, Good Morning Britain’s Adil Ray (left) reminded the Tory minister Jesus was also a migrant, meaning if he arrived illegally in the UK he would likely face being sent to Rwanda
The Rwanda plan is a move similar to an approach adopted in Australia and Home Secretary Priti Patel has defended the plans, using an opinion piece in the Times to attack her critics.
In a joint article with Rwandan foreign minister Vincent Biruta, she wrote: ‘We are taking bold and innovative steps and it’s surprising that those institutions that criticise the plans fail to offer their own solutions.’
Although migrants will be able to apply to live in Rwanda permanently, there has been huge backlash at the plans to send migrants to the country.
Just four years ago Rwandan police shot dead 12 refugees as they protested a UN cut to food rations and the country is marred by the 1994 genocide that saw 800,000 people murdered, many of them hacked to death in their own homes.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, branded the scheme as ‘ungodly’, while the UN called it ‘unacceptable’.
Minister Greg Hands previously told Sky News of Welby’s intervention: ”I think what others, the critics of this plan, need to do is to show what their solution would be.’
While Priti Patel said criticism of her plans was ‘synthetic outrage’, a boat with 10 migrants on board was brought ashore into Dover, Kent, on Monday after being intercepted by Border Force officers.
Men, women and young children were wearing life jackets as they were brought into the port this morning to be processed.
Members of the Border Force escort migrants back to dover after they was picked up in the English Channel this morning
More than 6,000 migrants have been detained after making the dangerous journey this year
Border Force officials helped migrants who were desperate to reach Britain’s shored
Each migrant was given a life jacket and taken to Dover, Kent, for processing
These migrants face being sent with a one-way ticket to Rwanda, which is more than 4,000 miles away
The UN has branded the proposed scheme as ‘unacceptable’ while the Archbishop of Canterbury said it was ‘ungodly’
Migrants travelling to the UK on small boats will be put on jets and sent to Rwanda while their applications are processed. Pictured: A map detailing the plan proposed by the Prime Minister
A record 28,395 migrants reached the UK illegally last year by taking small boats across the Channel, a 200 per cent increase on 2020’s tally
A view of facilities at Hope House, a hostel in Nyabugogo, the Gasabo district of the capital city Kigali, in Rwanda – where migrants shipped from Britain will initially be taken
Windy conditions in the Channel were expected to prevent large numbers attempting the treacherous crossing over the Easter weekend.
On Saturday the Royal Navy and Border Force intercepted a further 252 migrants attempting to make the treacherous journey.
Despite choppy conditions in the 21-mile wide Dover Straits, seven flimsy dinghies made the dangerous voyage and were rescued in British waters.
As of Saturday, the latest figures now mean 6,263 migrants have already been detained so far this year in 193 small boats.
The Archbishop of Canterbury (pictured today) blasted the government’s Rwanda plan for asylum seekers as the ‘opposite of the nature of God’
On Sunday morning, Justin Welby told his Easter sermon congregation that the UK has a duty as a ‘Christian country’ to not ‘sub-contract our responsibilities’ after anyone who arrived in Britain illegally since January 1 could be relocated to Rwanda under a new deal
In his Easter sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, Justin Welby said the UK has a ‘national responsibility’ as a ‘Christian country’ to not ‘sub-contract our responsibilities’
Men, women and children were brought ashore in Dover, Kent, by Border Force officials on Easter Sunday
Three men are escorted off a boat on Sunday. Around 20 are understood to have been intercepted in the Channel
Home Secretary Priti Patel (pictured speaking to the media in Rwanda), has slammed ‘synthetic outrage’ at her plans
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, following a small boat incident in the Channel on Easter Sunday
Latest figures now mean 6,263 migrants have already been detained so far this year in 193 small boats
Young children were among the migrants intercepted as they tried to make the Channel crossing today
The migrants were pictured in life jackets and wearing face masks as they were escorted off the boat by Border Force officers
A woman and young child are helped off a boat after attempting to cross the Channel on Sunday
How will the new Rwanda migrant scheme work?
Cross-channel arrivals assessed and anyone deemed an economic migrant rather than a refugee is sent to Rwanda
- Initial agreement worth £120million over five years
- Failed immigrants urged to start new life in Africa
- Initially based at hostel in Kigali
- Hope House is currently being used as budget accommodation for tourists
- Privately owned, the East African nation’s government is understood to be in negotiations to lease the property
- Memorandum of understanding (MOU) says Government will screen asylum seekers ‘without delay’ after arrival in the UK
- All requests will require approval from Rwanda before relocation
- Nation can refuse to take people with criminal records
- People who cross the Channel in small boats will undergo initial checks at the Western Jet Foil facility in Dover
- Further checks at a processing site in Manston, Kent. Where their claim is deemed inadmissible, they may be removed to a ‘third safe country’.
- Royal Navy to lead Channel policing role, helping Border Force from today
- PM attacked ‘a formidable army of politically motivated lawyers’ who have thwarted previous action
- PM: ‘Our compassion may be infinite but our capacity to help people is not. We can’t ask the British taxpayer to write a blank cheque to cover the costs of anyone who might want to come and live here.’
In 2021 that figure was not reached until July 10, while 1,713 people have been arrived this month alone.
Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday slammed the ‘synthetic outrage’ over the Rwanda plans.
She also accused political opponents of treating exploited migrants with contempt and slammed ‘shameful’ human rights lawyers for profiting from traffickers sending groups to the UK in flimsy dinghies, The Sun reports.
Ms Patel said: ‘All I’ve heard the last couple of days is a typical hysterical reaction from the Left, particularly through their social media echo chamber.
‘All they have to offer is synthetic outrage. Labour doesn’t have a plan. They don’t care about Britain’s interests or UK taxpayers who foot the bill.
‘They are showing complete contempt for democracy and the wishes of the British people who have been crying out for years for action to fix our broken asylum system and tackle illegal migration.’
A Government source told the Mail on Sunday that after striking a dramatic deal, the Home Secretary wants to spread the word internationally and let ‘people know the rules have changed and if you arrive illegally to the UK, you can be deported to Rwanda’.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also warned that ‘anyone entering the UK illegally, as well as those who have arrived illegally since 1 January, may now be relocated to Rwanda’.
A £100,000 information campaign will use social media to reach people in ‘source countries’ in their own languages.
Jacob Rees-Mogg also suggested today that migrants crossing the Channel in small boats are ‘supporting organised crime’.
The Cabinet minister, speaking on Radio 4’s The World This Weekend programme, said he disagrees with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s interpretation of the Government’s new immigration policy to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
In his Easter sermon, Justin Welby earlier said ‘sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well, like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God’.
Reacting to the sermon, Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘I think he misunderstands what the policy is trying to achieve, and that it isn’t an abandonment of responsibility, it is in fact a taking on of a very difficult responsibility.
‘The problem that is being dealt with is that people are risking their lives in the hands of people traffickers, to get into this country illegally. Now, it’s not the illegal bit of it, it is the encouragement of people traffickers that needs to be stopped.’
He added that ’90 per cent of people coming are young men who by coming via people traffickers are jumping the queue for others’.
Mr Rees-Mogg continued: ‘They are in doing so not only risking their lives but supporting organised crime. What we need to do is focus on legal routes into this country of which there are quite a number.’
The new deal – expected to be the subject of legal challenges – was presented to Cabinet Ministers on Wednesday by Ms Patel and the Prime Minister.
The Rwandan government will receive £120 million in investment from the UK with the cost of housing each migrant for three months estimated at £20,000 to £30,000.
Ms Patel issued a ministerial direction, only the second in the department for 30 years, to force through the policy after objections from Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft.
A man is escorted at a port in Dover after being intercepted attempting to illegally cross the Channel
Senior Home Office civil servants have expressed dismay at the cost. One said: ‘It will be astronomical. The legal bill alone will be huge.’
Last night, the Home Office published an exchange of letters between Ms Patel and Mr Rycroft in which he called for a ministerial direction as he could not justify the policy’s value for money.
The package also includes a new immigration centre for 500 men at a former RAF base in Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire.
Speaking after Saturday’s crossings, Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration Tom Pursglove MP said: ‘The rise in dangerous Channel crossings is unacceptable.
‘Not only are they an overt abuse of our immigration laws but they also impact on the UK taxpayer, risk lives and our ability to help refugees come to the UK via safe and legal routes. Rightly, the British public has had enough.
‘Through our Nationality and Borders Bill, we’re cracking down on people smugglers and fixing the broken system by making it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and introducing a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for those who facilitate illegal entry into our country.’
Source: Daily Mail