A group of activists demanded Priti Patel scrap the plan to ship refugees to Rwanda, branding it dangerous and racist
Protesters disrupted Priti Patel’s speech at a Tory fundraising dinner last night, demanding she scrap her “racist” Rwanda refugees plan.
Climate campaigners from Green New Deal Rising attended Bassetlaw Conservative Party’s Spring Dinner, at which the Home Secretary was guest of honor.
One by one, they stood up and shouted in protest, saying: “Your racist policies are killing people” and “as young people wanting to live in a fair and compassionate society, we are disgusted by your treatment of refugees.”
As security staff physically removed them from the building, they chanted, “say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here.”
But Tories at the dinner chanted “Out! Out! Out!”
Holly Hudson, 27, a Green New Deal Rising activist who was part of the protest said: “I want to grow up in a society that cares and respects people wherever they come from. I am disgusted by Priti Patel’s Rwanda plan and her immigration policies.They are violent, illegal and inhumane and have been condemned across society.
“This bill is a direct act of harm to those seeking safety. Whoever we are, we all deserve safety and compassion and that’s why we took action today.”
Under the five-year deal with Rwanda, people deemed to have traveled to the UK illegally would be flown 4,000 miles to the central African state for processing.
Critics have warned the cruel scheme will not solve the problems it claims to tackle and could rack up extortionate costs.
The Government was widely reported to want the first flights to begin at the end of May but the PM said the plan could be held up by legal challenges.
Downing Street last week admitted it could be months before any asylum seekers are sent on a one-way trip to Rwanda, partly due to legal wrangles.
More than 7,000 asylum seekers have arrived in the UK after crossing the English Channel this year so far, according to analysis of government data.
Some 1,972 people arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel between April 14 – when the Government announced and signed the Rwanda deal – and May 2.
Asked if Boris Johnson was disappointed that the plan had not curbed Channel crossings, his official spokesman said: “It’s too early to judge what the situation will be long-term on this policy.
“You will know – as we’ve seen – migrant crossings continue, criminal gangs continue to profit. This is unsustainable.”
Asked when the success or failure of the plan could be judged, the PM’s spokesman said: “I don’t think there’s a fixed date … obviously, there are a number of variables we need to deal with, not least some of the legal challenges which have been talked about.”
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 recognized as refugees, build their lives there.
“Our new Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda fully complies with international and national law.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.