‘Inhumane, Immoral, Illegal’: Former Top Civil Servant Savages Boris Johnson’s Rwanda Plan

A former top civil servant has launched a brutal attack on Boris Johnson’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Sir David Normington, who served as permanent secretary at the Home Office, said the scheme was “inhumane, morally reprehensible, probably unlawful and may well be unworkable”.

His comments, to the BBC’s Newsnight, came after home secretary Priti Patel signed an agreement with that will see illegal immigrants flown one-way from the UK to Rwanda for “processing”.

The move is designed to prevent asylum seekers trying to cross the Channel from France in dangerous boats.

Johnson admitted on Thursday that he expects the controversial proposals to be challenged in the courts.

Asked for his views on the policy, Normington said: “Well let’s assume it’s actually going to happen because there are lots of hurdles to get over, and the prime minister admitted that, so it’s not going to solve a problem very quickly.

“But let’s assume it is going to happen and the government is serious about it.

“My assessment is well first of all it’s inhumane. It’s morally reprehensible, it’s probably unlawful and it may well be unworkable.”

He added: “Because these are victims, probable of repression in their own country, certainly of traffickers and smugglers, and they’re soon going to become victims of the British government, who are going to give them a one-way ticket to a country they don’t know, they don’t want to go to, can’t speak the language and are going to be left there.

“And whatever we think about the problems of immigration and asylum seeking in this country, treating individuals like that is simply not acceptable.”

Analysis of the memorandum of understanding between the UK and Rwanda by HuffPost UK showed it is unknown how much money the government will pay the east African nation for accepting the illegal immigrants.

Rwanda is also free to reject any people it likes, meaning there is no way of knowing how many will end up being sent there.

A section of the agreement between the UK and Rwanda

Unveiling the policy on Thursday, the prime minister denied the measures are “draconian and lacking in compassion”.

Johnson said the agreement is “uncapped” and Rwanda will have the “capacity to resettle tens of thousands of people in the years ahead”, including those who have arrived “illegally” since the start of the year.

He pledged £50 million in new funding for boats, aerial surveillance and military personnel to help ensure the measures are a “very considerable deterrent” to crossings.

And he said the individuals who succeed in making it to the UK “will be taken not to hotels at vast public expense” and instead will be housed in Greek-style detention centres, with the first opening “shortly”.

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