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New British PM Declares Rwanda Deportation Plan ‘Dead and Buried’

New British PM Declares Rwanda Deportation Plan ‘Dead and Buried’

Britain’s new Prime Minister Keir Starmer said on Saturday he would end a controversial plan to send thousands of British asylum seekers to Rwanda, in his first major policy announcement after winning a landslide election victory.

The previous Conservative government first announced plans in 2022 to send migrants who had arrived in the UK without permission to the east African nation, saying it would put an end to asylum seekers arriving in small boats.

But no one was sent to Rwanda as planned because of years of legal challenges.

In his first press conference since becoming prime minister, Starmer said the Rwanda policy would be abandoned because only around 1% of asylum seekers would be turned away and this would not act as a deterrent.

“The Rwanda plan was dead and buried before it started. It was never a deterrent,” Starmer said. “I am not prepared to continue with gimmicks that are not a deterrent.”

Starmer won one of the biggest parliamentary majorities in modern British history on Friday, becoming Britain’s most powerful leader since former prime minister Tony Blair, but faces a series of challenges including improving public services and reviving a weak economy.

At the Downing Street press conference, Starmer answered a dozen questions and was repeatedly asked how and when he would start delivering on his promises to fix the country’s problems, but he gave few details about what he intends to do.

Asked whether he was prepared to make tough decisions and raise taxes if necessary, Starmer said his government would identify problems and take action in areas such as tackling an overburdened prison system and reducing long waiting times to use the NHS.

“We’re going to have to make tough decisions and make them soon, and we will. We’re going to do it with pure honesty,” he said. “But this is not some kind of prelude to there being a fiscal decision that we’ve never talked about before.”

Source: Terra

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