Boris Johnson challenged over immigration plan by Nick Ferrari
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In an exclusive interview with LBC, Nick Ferrari put Boris Johnson on the spot over the Rwanda plan, as the first flight to take illegal migrants to Rwanda could only have 10 people on board.
Mr Ferrari asked the Prime Minister: “We have tomorrow the flight due to take people to Rwanda. Initially, it was going to be 130. Now, it will possibly be fewer than 10. Would one flight justify this policy, just one person being removed?”
Boris Johnson said: “I think it’s very important that the criminal gangs who are putting people’s lives at risk in the Channel understand that their business model is going to be broken, is being broken by this Government.
“They’re selling people something, they’re luring them into something that is extremely risky and criminal.”
Nick Ferrari retorted: “But you’re failing to deport them, Prime Minister. You and your colleague Priti Patel are failing to deport them. They’re all having appeals and these appeals are going to be heard. It could be fewer than ten on the plane.”
Boris Johnson defended: “Well, look, Nick, we’ve always said we knew this policy would attract a tax from those who want to a complete open doors approach to immigration and want people to be able to come across the Channel without led or hindrance.
“And there are very, very active lawyers in this field, as you know. I have respect for them, for the legal profession. But it’s also important that we stop the criminal gangs. That is the economic and immigration partnership that we have with Rwanda.”
Referring to smugglers, Mr Johnson said: “So, when we say to people, look: these people are selling you false hope. And they’re telling that you can come, they break the law.”
Nick Ferrari then said: “You say you have respect prime minister for the legal profession.”
Cutting Mr Johnson off, Mr Ferrari continued: “Prime minister, prime minister. You say you have respect for the legal profession. Prince Charles says the plan is appalling. The archbishop of Canterbury says it is against the judgement of God. How come you know better than the Prince Charles and the Archbishop of Canterbury, prime minister?”
In his defence, Boris Johnson then said: “I think that most people can see that criminals gangs who are not only risky – I see images of them bringing people here illegally – that model needs to be frustrated. What we say is people can come to this country through safe and legal routes.
“I’m a beneficiary. My own family came to the UK. A lot of us came to the Uk a long time ago or recently.”
Mr Ferrari then said: “So just to clarify, Prince Charles is wrong Prime Minister?”
Boris Johnson said: “Let me put it this way, what I don’t think that we should support is this continued activity by criminal gangs.”
“I hear that PM, I hear that”, Mr Ferrari then said, adding: “but Prince Chales is wrong.”
The Prime Minister continued: “These are very frail, very dangerous boats. They are not only risking their lives but also breaking the law. What it does is it undermines everybody here who’s coming legally. And it undermines people who support immigrants and want people to come here legally and to be integrated properly.
“And that is important. You know, here on this farm for instance, they are supported by a workforce that comes from all over the world: Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan… You name it. But they come here legally. They do it properly. They’re not controlled by criminal gangs. And that is what we want to see.”
Boris Johnson’s comments come as the prime minister pays a visit to Southern England farms ahead of an announcement to promote food security in the UK.
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The controversial Rwanda policy has also attracted criticism from unions who protested the deportations on Sunday and demanded the Rwanda policy be delayed until all the legal routes against it were tested.
Rwanda’s Government has asked for the policy to be given a chance. Yolande Makolo, a spokesperson for Rwanda’s Government, told Sky News the scheme is “well thought out” and that migrants were risking “their lives crossing the ocean, trying to cross the desert.”
A High Court ruled last Friday that a flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda can go ahead. The exact number of migrants on the plane will depend out on the outcome of the appeals introduced after the ruling.
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