Tories complain about Archbishop of Canterbury criticizing their Rwanda refugee plan


Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg accused the Head of the Church of England of ‘misunderstanding’ the policy when he used his Easter Sermon to say it was ‘opposite of the nature of God’

Jacob Rees-Mogg said the Archbishop of Canterbury had actually ‘misunderstood’ the plans

The Archbishop of Canterbury has prompted the anger of right-wing Tories over his claim that forcing asylum seekers to Rwanda was “opposite of the nature of God”.

Jacob-Rees Mogg accused the Head of the Church of England of “misunderstanding” Tory asylum policy which refugee groups have branded cruel.

The Cabinet minister, a practicing Catholic, denied the Government was abandoning its responsibility to vulnerable people.

He also suggested migrants crossing the Channel in small boats were “supporting organized crime” by attempting to flee to Britain.

Justin Welby used his Easter sermon to deliver a devastating rebuke to the “unethical” proposal to send people who arrive on boats on a one-way flight to the African state.

In his high-profile address at Canterbury Cathedral, he said the measures “cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values”.






Justin Welby used his Easter sermon to deliver a devastating rebuke

“Sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well, like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures.”

He said there were “serious ethical questions” about sending asylum seekers overseas, adding: “The details are for politics. The principle must stand the judgment of God, and it cannot.

The Archbishop of York also criticized the Government’s plans in his Easter Sunday sermon at York Minster.

Stephen Cottrell said he had found it “so depressing and distressing” that asylum seekers fleeing war, famine and oppression would not be treated with the dignity and compassion.

“We can do better than this,” he told his congregation.

“After all, there is in law no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker. It is the people who exploit them that we need to crack down on, not our sisters and brothers in their need. We don’t need to build more barriers and cower in the darkness of the shadows they create.”







The Archbishop of York also criticized the Government’s plans in his Easter Sunday sermon
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Getty)

The Archbishop added: “Do we want to continue to be known as a country that opens proper, legitimate pathways for all who flee violence, conflict and oppression, not just those from Ukraine, but also those fleeing other conflicts and the effect of climate change ?”

But Mr Rees-Mogg told BBC Radio 4: “I think he misunderstands what the policy is trying to achieve, and that it isn’t an abandonment of responsibility, it is in fact a taking on of a very difficult responsibility.”

The top Tory added: “The problem that is being dealt with is that people are risking their lives at the hands of people traffickers, to get into this country illegally.

“Now, it’s not the illegal bit of it, it is the encouragement of people traffickers who need to be stopped.

“They are in doing so not only risking their lives but supporting organized crime. What we need to do is focus on legal routes into this country of which there are quite a number.”







John Redwood tweeted: “I thought the Easter message was love conquers all”
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Dan Kitwood)

Tory right-winger John Redwood tweeted: “I thought the Easter message was love conquers all. We should forgive and reconcile. Could the Archbishop help do that instead of sharpening political divisions?”

He added: “So what is the Archbishop’s proposal on how to stop the lucrative and illegal trade by people traffickers? Why does he want to live with law breaking and dangerous voyages?”

Ann Widdecombe, a former Home Office minister, told LBC: “Well, if you want to think of something ungodly, it is the people trafficking that is quite ruthlessly going on.

“And I think putting an end to that is not ungodly, and a policy that says ‘look, if you think you can come to the UK without a valid asylum claim, for economic reasons when you’re already in safe countries like France or Italy or wherever it might be – you can’t, and this is what is going to happen’.”

However, shadow minister Wes Streeting, also a practicing Christian, said: :It really isn’t for politicians to tell the head of our church what he should or shouldn’t say in his Easter sermon. Conservative MPs should reflect on it instead.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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