Rwanda migrant plan is not 'appalling' but 'should be a deterrent', Priti Patel tells LBC

24 June 2022, 08:22 | Updated: 24 June 2022, 09:07

By Sophie Barnett

The Home Secretary Priti Patel claimed her scheme to send migrants to Rwanda isn't "appalling" but "should be a deterrent" when she was grilled by LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

Ms Patel said no court has ruled her controversial partnership is "unlawful" after they were reportedly called "appalling" by Prince Charles.

"If it's a deterrent, people clearly don't want to be sent there. So Prince Charles is right, this is appalling," Nick grilled the Home Secretary.

"First of all, it's not appalling, it is absolutely not appalling," Ms Patel said.

She continued: "Why should it be okay for the EU to remove people to Rwanda and other countries..."

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Priti Patel has defended her Rwanda migrant scheme.
Priti Patel has defended her Rwanda migrant scheme. Picture: Alamy

"I'm asking you about the British Government, and if it's a deterrent, people don't want to go there?" Nick hit back.

"And it should be a deterrent," Ms Patel said.

"It should deter people from putting their lives in the hands of people smugglers. The other point about our approach is that it is a migration and economic development partnership, it's a resettlement programme. And that's important. We are investing in people - this is unprecedented and this is unique.

"We are investing in people that will be removed to Rwanda and will not have the automatic right - we want to stop people using people smugglers to come to our country and have the automatic right to claim asylum."

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She said the asylum system in the UK has been subject to abuse for "too long" and this has prevented those who are genuinely coming to our country from getting asylum.

"This is the rebalance that is required and that is why a deterrent factor is equally as important," she said.

The Home Secretary was unable to confirm when the first asylum seeker will be sent to Kigali after the first flight was blocked by last-minute interventions from the European Court of Human Rights.

Ms Patel said she was "disappointed" that the first flight, due to set off from the UK on June 14, was unable to take off.

But she remained determined to see the plans through, adding "preparation for the next flight begins now".

She claimed her policy will "help prevent the loss of life" and will "break the business model" of people smugglers.

Her plans were reportedly condemned by Prince Charles as "appalling".

Charles is said to be particularly frustrated as he is representing the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

Both he and Camilla have become the first members of the Royal Family to visit the country.