July 15. 2024. 8:14

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UK Conservatives double down on Rwanda deportations ahead of snap July election


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak presented his Conservative Party’s manifesto for the snap general election on 4 July under the banner of a “secure future”, pledging to cut taxes and doubling down on the deportation of migrants to Rwanda.

Speaking at Tuesday’s Conservative manifesto launch event at the Silverstone racetrack, Sunak made it clear that the Conservative manifesto was all about immigration.

While he promised to introduce a migration cap to ‘halve migration and then reduce it further every year’, his focus was on irregular migration.

If the Conservatives win the election in July, deportation flights from Britain to Rwanda will start as early as July, said Sunak, referring to his Rwanda plan, which he mentioned several times during his speech and which he said would deter migrants from crossing the Channel illegally.

While he acknowledged criticisms from the UK’s far-right, saying that with “Brexit we took control of our borders but migration has been too high”, his hardline rhetoric was completed by his repetition of the line: “If forced to choose between security and the jurisdiction of a foreign court, including the ECHR, we will always choose the security of our nation”.

In response to a question by British tabloid The Sun, Sunak claimed that several European countries had been inspired by the Rwanda plan.

He took a swipe at Labour leader Keir Starmer, saying: “Normally Keir is in favour of EU alignment, yet on this one he hasn’t got the memo.”

Starmer, who will launch the Labour manifesto Thursday, has previously said that he opposes a deportation arrangement and instead focuses on tackling smugglers.

For this year, the BBC reported in mid-May that almost 10,000 people had crossed the Channel in small boats. Numbers had previously fallen around 50% between 2022 and 2023, from 46,000 to 30,000, Euractiv previously reported.

Meanwhile, the UK saw a net outflow of EU citizens in 2023, while over half a million people arrived in the country legally from a selection of countries in South Asia and Africa.

(Chris Powers | Euractiv.com)

Read more with Euractiv

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