The Royal Navy is now in command of the Channel following orders from Boris Johnson, who has championed plans to send refugees who make the crossing in small boats to Rwanda. He said the Royal Navy would take over “operational command” of Border Force in the English Channel from Thursday April 14 to ensure “no boat goes to the UK undetected”.
The PM has admitted he expects plans to airlift refugees more than 4,000 miles to East Africa to be challenged in court. Opposition MPs and refugee charities have heavily criticized the plans, but Boris Johnson has denied that the multimillion-pound measures are ‘draconian and lacking in compassion’.
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The Prime Minister has come under increased scrutiny following the fine he received for breaking his own coronavirus laws. Former Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens made his feelings clear during an interview on The One Show calling Mr Johnson a ‘criminal’ who ‘really should quit’.
An initial £120million is set to be paid to the Rwandan government under a trial scheme, with Home Secretary Priti Patel reaching a deal during a visit to the capital of Kigali on Thursday. Mr Johnson said the deal was ‘uncapped’ and that Rwanda would have the ‘capacity to resettle tens of thousands of people over the coming years’, including those who have arrived ‘illegally’ since the beginning of the year.
Mr Johnson has pledged £50million in new funding for boats, aerial surveillance and military personnel to ensure the measures are a ‘very significant deterrent’ to level crossings. And he said refugees who make it to the UK “will not be taken to hotels at public expense” and instead will be accommodated in Greek-style detention centres, the first of which will open “under little”.
Labor has accused the Prime Minister of trying to deflect attention from the ‘partygate’ scandal with the ‘impractical, unethical and exorbitant’ refugee scheme. Charities condemned them as “cruel and wicked” plans that will not solve the problem and will cause more “suffering and chaos”, while criticizing Rwanda’s human rights record”.
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