Boris Johnson defends Rwanda deportation policy
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The row has broken out as Home Secretary Priti Patel has had to repeatedly fight off legal challenges from leftwing activist lawyers who are trying to block the first deportation flight to Rwanda this week of people who illegally entered the country after crossing the English Channel on small boats. It comes as ministers have confirmed the cost of housing asylum seekers is £4.7 million per day – equating to more than £1.7 billion a year.
The annual cost of housing asylum seekers would fund more than 5,000 nurses or more than 50 new schools or almost two Type 45 Destroyers to protect Britain’s waters.
MPs pointed out the money could also be ploughed back into tax cuts or reducing energy bills to help with the cost of living crisis for millions of people in the UK.
Instead, the Archbishop of Canterbury – who has been dubbed “the world’s richest religious leader” after becoming a millionaire working in the oil industry – attacked the government’s attempts to stop the flow of illegal migrants making the dangerous trip across the Channel.
In a Tweet he wrote: “To reduce dangerous journeys to the UK we need safe routes: the church will continue to advocate for them.
“But deportations — and the potential forced return of asylum seekers to their home countries — are immoral and shame us as a nation.”
Red Wall Conservative MPs were furious at the attack on Home Secretary Priti Patel and suggested that Welby give up his two palaces, which come with his Archbishopric, to house illegal migrants and use his personal wealth to pay for their needs.
Ashfield MP Lee Anderson said: “If the Archbishop of Canterbury truly believes that we should do more to keep illegal immigrants in this country and love thy neighbour as thyself then perhaps he should give up his two palaces and pay for all the accommodation costs.
“He can then instruct every Church in the UK that their vicarages should also be given up to illegal immigrants to stay in. These are practical measures he could take to assure the great British public that the Church is doing all it can during these difficult times.”
The Archbishop’s main residence is Lambeth Palace – south of the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament.
As well as numerous bedrooms the 800-year-old palace boasts extensive gardens, a large library, an atrium, “the pink drawing room” and a state dining room.
Meanwhile, his residence in Canterbury is the Old Palace or Archbishop’s Palace, another grade I-listed 800-year-old building where one of the bedrooms was used by the Queen.
Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith pointed out that the Old Palace is just a 25-minute drive from Dover where 250 illegal migrants are being landed today.
He pointed out that the Government is trying to break the business model of human traffickers who use the money raised to support organised crime and terrorism while exploiting the people they smuggle in who often end up in modern day slavery sweat shops or forced prostitution.
Mr Clarke-Smith asked: “How would they prevent deaths in The Channel?
“If anybody else performed as poorly in their jobs as the last two Archbishops (at least in the private sector) they’d be sacked.
“They should ask themselves why there’s an alarming decline in Anglicanism and stop virtue signalling.”
Mr Clarke-Smith also pointed to data which shows that less than 15 percent of the population in England is now Anglican despite Church of England bishops taking up 26 seats in the House of Lords.
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In a personal message directed at the Archbishop, Dudley North MP Marco Longhi added: “Archbishop, as you appear to feel so strongly about this, will you give up two of your palaces for illegal migrants and pay for their accommodation?
“I note how it is the liberal privileged elite, unaffected by the impact of illegal immigration, whose moral outrage is loudest.”
In a week where millionaires like former footballer Gary Neville and, according to sources, Prince Charles have attacked the Rwanda plan, Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, deputy chairman of the Common Sense group, blamed the “out of touch elites.”
He Tweeted: “Telling that many of the most vocal critics of the Rwanda policy are members of elite society who have never had to live with the consequences of uncontrolled illegal immigration. The issue that the Rwanda policy is designed to tackle.
“When have they ever had to wait at length for a GP appointment? To get a place for their kid at the school of their choice? For a council house? Never. Their hysterical reaction to the Rwanda policy goes to show how out of touch they are.”
Meanwhile, another prominent Red Wall MP Dehenna Davison, who has the Bishop of Durham living in Auckland Castle in her Bishop Auckland constituency, said: “The British people voted for us to take back control of our borders, so it is absolutely right that we have a robust approach to illegal immigration.
“Deportations would only occur if an asylum claim was rejected, or if a foreign national committed a crime whilst here – and the majority of the British public would not disagree with that approach!”
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