Politics Labour could send illegal migrants abroad to be processed,...

Labour could send illegal migrants abroad to be processed, says Keir Starmer


- Advertisment -

Small boat migrants could be “diverted” abroad to have their asylum applications decided under a Labour government, Sir Keir Starmer has announced.

The Labour leader said he would look at offshore processing, used by countries such as Australia, in a significant hardening of his stance on border controls.

However, during a speech to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2019 election, he insisted “straight deportation schemes” such as the Rwanda policy will not work.

In his punchiest rhetoric yet, Sir Keir accused the Tories of having descended into an “indulgent vortex” of infighting over their approach to migration.

Rwanda plan is ‘built on sand’ 

Sir Keir said the Government’s plan to deport migrants to Africa was “built on sand” and accused rebel Tory MPs of having “half an eye” on a future leadership contest.

But asked whether he would consider sending asylum seekers abroad, the Labour leader said he was open to the idea of offshore processing.

“The Rwanda scheme…is a straight deportation scheme in relation to people who have already arrived”, he told reporters at Silverstone race track.

“Other countries around the world do have schemes where they divert people away for processing elsewhere. That’s a different kind of scheme and I’ll look at any scheme that might work.

“I’m actually pretty clear in my own mind that unless – and until – we’re more serious about smashing the gangs, trying to deal at the other end of the problem, when people are already here, is looking at it through the wrong end of the telescope.

“The Government has lost control of the numbers – thousands and thousands of people coming and they’re saying we might just very expensively send 100 people to Rwanda.”

‘Practical plan that will actually work’ 

Sir Keir said that Labour MPs would oppose the Rwanda legislation in a Commons vote on Tuesday evening because it goes “against our values”.

He insisted that his plan to crack down on smuggling gangs and strike a returns agreement with the EU would deliver faster and cheaper results.

“We will oppose the scheme this evening for a number of reasons – it doesn’t work, it will cost a fortune… and it is against our values”, he said.

“That does not mean we don’t recognise the challenge that there is of crossing on small boats across the Channel. We have to stop that. But stopping that means not gimmicks, but rolling our sleeves up with a practical plan that will actually work.”

But he said that he expected the legislation to pass, despite the “screaming and shouting” of rebel Tory MPs, because Mr Sunak has an 80 seat majority.

“If the Prime Minister loses the vote then of course he should call a general election,” he added. “The sooner we see the back of them the better.”

Richard Holden, the Conservative Party chairman, said: “Once again Sir Keir Starmer showed he is only interested in short-term political positioning, not taking long-term decisions in the national interest.

“Sir Keir confirmed he will block our plan to stop the boats, because he has never truly believed in being tough on illegal immigration and deterring people from making dangerous Channel crossings. And he recommitted Labour to spend £28 billion more every year at the same time as keeping debt falling. That can only mean one thing – higher taxes on working people to pay for this huge unfunded spending commitment.

“Whilst Labour stick to their same old short-term approach of more migration, more borrowing and more taxes, we are taking the long-term decisions to secure Britain’s future.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

The best Easter simnel cake for 2024, tried and tasted

Devilishly hard to cut and, lo and...

Has Colman's lost its fire? The great mustard debate

Covid didn’t help. In 2022, Colman’s reported...

Which coffee pods taste the best? 12 top brands tested and ranked

The Nespresso capsule coffee concept was first...
- Advertisement -

Must read

Lady Gaga and Cardi B Meet at the Grammys

What was expected of her was the same thing...
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you