Rachel Johnson backs Rwandan refugee plan which could save 'thousands of lives'

12 June 2022, 19:48 | Updated: 12 June 2022, 19:51

By James Bickerton

LBC presenter Rachel Johnson has given her cautious backing to the Government's Rwandan refugee plan, suggesting it could save "thousands of lives, and billions of pounds".

Under the scheme prospective asylum seekers who cross the English Channel by boat will be taken to Rwanda, where they will be able to apply for refugee status in the African nation.

The first removal flight is due to leave on Tuesday, though it must first overcome a legal challenge at the High Court.

Speaking on her LBC show Rachel said: "I think it's easy to decry it as heinous, despicable, appalling, atrocious, unworkable.

"But in the long run, if a short term airlift to Rwanda policy deters tens of thousands of people coming over, risking their lives, lining the pockets of some of the worst people in the universe is it worth giving it a try? I think it is.

"I think it's a short-term big brutal policy, I don't disagree it's tough to deport people 4,000 miles, but if in the long-run it saves thousands of lives, and billions of pounds is it worth giving it a shot?"

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has condemned the Government's plan as a "chaotic diversion" from the problem.

Speaking to Sky News he added: Of course, we don’t want people making that dangerous crossing.

“The way to do that is to have a proper plan with the French authorities and a proper plan for upstream operations to intercept these groups before they even arrive on the north coast of France."

"Of course, we want to clamp down on the people smugglers."