'You don't want them here!': Sadiq Khan's clash with caller who backs Rwanda plans

14 April 2022, 12:12 | Updated: 14 April 2022, 14:02

'Let's call a spade a spade - you don't want them coming here.'

By Tim Dodd

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan clashed with this caller who backs the UK's plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, accusing him of not wanting "them coming here".

It comes after Boris Johnson announced the Royal Navy will take over from Border Force for patrols of the English Channel, as plans to send people to Rwanda drew heavy criticism.

Unveiling the radical proposals at a speech in Kent, Mr Johnson also announced that people who risk the lives of others in the Channel will face life in jail under new laws.

Caller Tristan told Sadiq: "I agree with this in principle. I think it's a good idea. Maybe Rwanda's not the best country of choice... I think it's sensible to have a processing system.

"Let's have a system where we can actually say X amount are refugees - we will help them, these are economic migrants - unfortunately we can't at this stage, and these are illegal immigrants - absolutely not."

Read more: 'No possibility' of sending migrants to Rwanda for processing, insists Refugees Minister

Mr Khan asked Tristan to explain how a gay man in Iran would get to the UK if he wanted to.

"That Iranian person, I would go through the process. So whatever safe place I arrive in I would say 'Hi, this is the situation, can I apply for refugee status?'" Tristan said.

Mr Khan said: "Your view is they should be able to stay here if they are successful in applying for refugee status, that's not Johnson's policy! Johnson's policy is - if you're successful, you stay in Rwanda.

"Let's call a spade a spade - you don't want them coming here. Right? Let's be frank, Let's not pretend!"

Read more: Top Cabinet members rally round Boris as minister resigns over Partygate