Eco mob ambush Priti Patel speech over 'racist and inhumane' Rwanda migrant plan

7 May 2022, 18:07 | Updated: 7 May 2022, 18:40

A group of eco protesters ambushed Priti Patel's speech at a Tory dinner.
A group of eco protesters ambushed Priti Patel's speech at a Tory dinner. Picture: Twitter/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

A group of eco protesters have ambushed Priti Patel's speech at a local Tory dinner to slam her Rwanda migration plan as "racist" and "inhumane".

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Footage from campaign group Green New Deal Rising showed several protesters coming together during the Bassetlaw Conservatives Spring Dinner to condemn the policy, cutting off the Home Secretary as she took her place at the podium.

Ms Patel said: "Good evening everybody, I actually just want to start-"

A female protester, who was posing as a guest at the event, suddenly stood up on her chair to say: "Priti Patel your racist policies are killing people.

"Your plans to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda are inhumane, they're inhumane and are going to ruin people's lives."

The proposed policy will see adult migrants who are "inadmissible" for asylum deported to Rwanda for their cases to be processed.

It was presented as a solution to the increased number of people crossing the Channel, but many have criticised both the legality and effectiveness of the "unworkable" scheme.

Read more: 'Only 300 migrants will be sent to Rwanda each year' despite 'thousands' pledge

Read more: No migrant crossings detected for nine days - but unclear if Rwanda deal is behind it

As the first demonstrator was ushered from the room by security, another stood up to continue the protest, saying they were "disgusted" by the treatment of refugees.

A third protester then branded the policy "cruel".

Meanwhile, Tory members watched on, booing and chanting "out, out, out" as more members of the group stood.

A man and woman then got up from their chairs, shouting that the policy was "racist and problematic" and "inhumane".

The young campaigners continued to be escorted out of the room one by one, chanting: "Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here."

Protesters took turns standing up to condemn the policy.
Protesters took turns standing up to condemn the policy. Picture: Twitter/Green New Deal Rising

Ben Mitchell, who is believed to have been one of the protesters involved in the incident, later tweeted: "It was lovely to see you last night @pritipatel! You even thanked us for coming all the way up just for you... you're so welcome.

"We hope you now know that young people will not be silent while you sanction these racist and inhumane plans."

Holly Hudson - a leading member of the campaign - said: "@PritiPatel, myself and other @GNDRising activists interrupted your dinner to condemn your violent, racist #RwandaMigrationPlan. Safe refuge is a human right. Refugees are welcome here."

Fiona Quekett tweeted: "Priti Patel's Rwanda Plan, as well as the Nationality and Borders Bill, is vile and inhumane.

"We will stand against these cruel plans at every opportunity."

Brendan Clarke-Smith, the Conservative MP for Bassetlaw, said he was "sorry" the activists had to leave the event early as they "missed an excellent speech" by Ms Patel.

Replying to the video on Twitter, he said: "I would like to thank all of those who contributed towards our highly successful fundraising efforts in Bassetlaw at the heart of the former red wall, including the significant sums we received from these guests from outside the area.

"I am sorry they had to leave early as they missed an excellent speech by @pritipatel, great food and wonderful company.

"This will help us take back control of Bassetlaw District Council, ensure we re-elect a Conservative MP and return another Conservative Government who are committed to maintaining a tough but fair immigration system, as is overwhelmingly supported by my constituents."

It comes after modelling carried out by Home Office officials indicated that the Rwanda plan will fall short of Boris Johnson's initial statement saying "tens of thousands" of refugees will be removed.

The Home Office analysis estimated only 300 people would be sent to Rwanda a year by comparing the number of migrants who were categorised as "inadmissible" for asylum under a previous EU system that was applied in Britain pre-Brexit.

Identical "asylum admissibility" rules were used to sort migrants under the EU's Dublin Regulations as those that will be used in the new Rwanda scheme.

Ms Patel had begun her speech at the event.
Ms Patel had begun her speech at the event. Picture: Twitter/Green New Deal Rising

According to MailOnline, a Home Office spokesperson said: "The world-leading Migration Partnership will overhaul our broken asylum system, which is currently costing the UK taxpayer £1.5bn a year – the highest amount in two decades.

"It means those arriving dangerously, illegally or unnecessarily can be relocated to have their asylum claims considered and, if recognised as refugees, build their lives there.

"Our new Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda fully complies with international and national law."