Rishi Sunak promises to deport 100,000 illegal migrants under Rwanda plan | Politics | News


Deportation flights to Rwanda will take off within days if the Conservatives are returned to office, Rishi Sunak vowed.

Unveiling his manifesto, the Prime Minister also promised to halve legal migration, then cut numbers “every single year”.

The Conservative party suggested up to 100,000 people who have crossed the Channel illegally will be deported to other countries under their plans.

Hoping to rev-up the Tory election campaign, Mr Sunak laid out his blueprint for the nation in a speech at Silverstone race track.

He announced £17 billion of tax cuts to help workers, pensioners and parents over the next five years.

And promising to fight to the very end for every vote, the PM warned that Labour is planning to pick the public’s pockets while failing to tackle migration.

Mr Sunak said: “We saw the other week, Keir Starmer simply can’t tell you what he would do with people who come here illegally because he doesn’t believe it’s a problem.

“Now, with Brexit we took control of our borders, but migration has been too high in recent years and we have a clear plan to reduce it.

“Last year we announced changes which mean 300,000 people who were previously eligible to come here now can’t, and we will introduce a migration cap that means Parliament, your elected representatives, will vote on how many people should be able to come here every year.

“Our plan is this: we will halve migration as we have halved inflation, and then reduce it every single year.”

More than 125,000 migrants have arrived in Britain on small boats since 2018 and most are still in the country.

The Conservative party suggested up to 100,000 people who have crossed the Channel illegally will be deported to other countries under their plans.

A spokesman said the deal with Rwanda is “uncapped” and but some arrivals will be returned to their own country.

Around 10,000 Albanians have already been sent home under an agreement struck with its government.

The government has also been in negotiations with other countries, such as Vietnam, to replicate the agreement struck with Kigali.

A Tory spokesman said deal with the east African nation is “an uncapped scheme, this is the whole point”.

Efforts to broker similar deals with other nations would continue under the Conservatives, he added.

The Prime Minister highlighted plans to introduce a migration cap, which would give MPs a vote in Parliament every year on how many people should be allowed to come to the country.

Net migration, the difference between the number of people arriving and leaving the country, hit a record high of 764,000 in 2022, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It fell to 685,000 the following year but measures announced last November by Mr Sunak have started to have a significant impact, with health and social care visas – widely believed to have been being exploited – falling by 83% in March compared to the same period last year.

The manifesto did not go as far as pledging to sever ties with the human rights court in Strasbourg that has been instrumental in blocking deportation flights to Rwanda.

But Mr Sunak insisted he would prioritise protecting Britain’s borders over international laws.

The manifesto says there will be a “relentless” number of planes sent to the east African nation until the “boats are stopped”.

But the PM told the Express he was “deliberately not” putting a number on how many because “we don’t want to compromise operational security”.

He added: “But I’ve been very clear that it’s not just about one flight,”

until the boats are stopped”.

Mr Sunak took aim at Labour opponent Sir Keir Starmer, insisting: “Just saying ‘smash the gangs’, ‘smash the gangs’ is not a plan – a slogan is not a plan.

“You need to have something to do with illegal migrants. We’ve got a plan, he doesn’t and that means the situation will just get worse.”

The Prime Minister has had a challenging start to his campaign and acknowledged yesterday (TUES) that people are “frustrated”.

He admitted that the Tories “have not got everything right” but he pointed to the way he had put together the furlough support package to protect workers when the pandemic hit just a few weeks after he became chancellor.

He said: “I’m not blind to the fact that people are frustrated with our party and frustrated with me.

“Things have not always been easy. And we have not got everything right.”

He insisted, “we are the only party in this election with the big ideas to make our country a better place to live”.

Mr Sunak praised the record of Conservative home secretaries Theresa May, Priti Patel and James Cleverly, but pointedly did not include Suella Braverman, who held the role for more than a year of his premiership but was often a thorn in his side.

The Prime Minister confirmed plans for another 2p cut in national insurance and announced the total abolition of the main rate of contributions for the self-employed.

Other pledges include stamp duty reforms and a new Help to Buy scheme to help young people get on the property ladder.

To stop retirees from being dragged into paying income tax on the state pension, a new triple lock plus has been confirmed.

Spending on defence will hit 2.5% of national income, a new National Service is planned to give young people skills, 8,000 new police officers recruited and a 25-year prison term introduced for domestic murders.

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies said he had a “degree of scepticism” about the tax plans, due to be funded by reducing the projected welfare bill by £12 billion; cracking down on tax avoidance and cutting civil service numbers.

But he added: “Hands up though. I was equally sceptical about promises of delivering £12 billion of welfare savings in the 2015 manifesto. Via some serious cuts, including four years of freezes, those savings were broadly delivered, albeit two years later than that manifesto had claimed.”

Migration Watch Chairman Alp Mehmet said even net migration of 350,000 will mean our population growing by a million people every three years.

He added: “It is impossible to provide for such growth or integrate migrants. It will leave Britain unrecognisable within a generation.”



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