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Policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda is ‘dead and buried’, Prime Minister confirms


Keir Starmer says he is not prepared to continue with the Rwanda scheme, calling it a gimmick that does not work

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Labour's new Prime Minister, Keir Starmer, confirmed today that he considers the former Conservative government's policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda is 'dead and buried'.

Downing StreetImage credit: WikipediaStarmer was asked in a press conference this afternoon whether the Rwanda scheme was now dead and buried.

The Prime Minister replied: "The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. It's never been a deterrent.

"Look at the numbers that have come over in the first six and a bit months of this year. They're record numbers. That is the problem that we are inheriting.

"It has never acted as a deterrent. Almost the opposite, because everybody has worked out, particularly the gangs that run this, the chance of ever going to Rwanda was so slim, less than one percent, that it was never a deterrent.

"The chances were of not going and not being processed and staying here, therefore, in paid-for accommodation for a very, very long time. It's had the complete opposite effect and I'm not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don't act as a deterrent."

The Refugee Council welcomed the Prime Minister's confirmation.

In a post on X, the Refugee Council stated: "We applaud the new PM on following through with his commitment to scrap the Rwanda plan. All those stuck in permanent limbo need to be rapidly given a fair hearing in the asylum system."

Labour has said that its replacement for the Rwanda policy will be to set up a new Border Security Command to tackle the organised, criminal gangs behind the small boats crossing the Channel. The new Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, said yesterday that setting up the new Command would be one of her first two priority tasks upon taking office.