Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer’s Opposition to the Rwanda Deportation Plan
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has vowed to dismantle the controversial Rwanda deportation plan, even if it proves successful in deterring illegal migrants from crossing the English Channel. In his opening speech at the party conference, Sir Keir denounced the scheme as “wrong” and “hugely expensive,” setting the stage for a Supreme Court showdown over its future.
Designed as a deterrent to small boat crossings, the policy could forcibly remove asylum-seekers to Rwanda, pending the court’s ruling. However, challenges from human rights lawyers have complicated its implementation. Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick labeled Sir Keir’s intervention as evidence that Labour opposes border controls, stating that they prefer to burden British communities with criminal activity.
Responding to inquiries about whether he would still oppose the plan if judges ruled in its favor and illegal crossings decreased, Sir Keir expressed his skepticism. He argued that the number of individuals going to Rwanda would be negligible and emphasised that the primary issue lies at the source of migration. Dismissing the government’s claims that the Rwanda scheme alone would reduce migrant numbers, Sir Keir spurned their assertions, highlighting the existing failure to implement removal flights despite the UK’s £140 million investment in its asylum partnership with Rwanda, announced in April last year.
In addition to the Supreme Court battle, the government may face opposition from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Notably, Downing Street pledged to curb illegal crossings in the English Channel in January, yet 25,000 migrants have successfully made the journey thus far this year. Although only a small number of individuals would be deported to Rwanda initially, government officials aspire to expand the program to include hundreds, or even thousands, of deportations.
The Supreme Court hearing is scheduled to commence tomorrow, with a verdict expected next month. Sir Keir’s pronouncement came on the first day of the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, where he faced scrutiny around his claims that growth would rapidly accelerate once Labour assumed power. He maintained that growth could occur swiftly, with the necessary investment and the absence of political instability. Asserting that investors are prepared to support Labour, Sir Keir emphasised the need to unshackle the country and facilitate progress.
Meanwhile, at the conference, Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, articulated the party’s commitments to workers’ rights. She pledged to repeal stringent strike laws within 100 days of a Labour government taking office, advocating for increased protections for gig workers and fundamental employment rights. Rayner promised to ban zero-hour contracts and fire-and-rehire practices, granting workers essential rights from their first day of employment. The party also intends to address the gender pay gap, improve work-family balance, combat sexual harassment, and empower unions through enhanced collective bargaining for improved pay, terms, and conditions. Story Source