David Davis has become the latest senior Conservative to attack Boris Johnson over the government’s plan to send illegal immigrants to Rwanda.
The former Brexit secretary accused the prime minister of “moral delinquency” and declared: “We are better than this - or at least we used to be.”
The PM announced last week that the UK had struck a deal with Rwanda which will see those found to have entered Britain illegally flown one-way more than 4,000 miles to the east African country.
He said the policy was aimed at preventing asylum seekers risking their lives by trying to cross the Channel from France in small boats.
Writing in The Times Red Box, Davis said the policy was “fraught with practical problems, beset by moral dilemmas and hamstrung by extortionate costs”
He also took issue with Johnson’s claim that the policy was an example of the UK using the freedoms it has won since leaving the European Union.
He said: “Brexit was about taking back control. About asserting our own sovereignty and deciding our own destiny. The freedoms of Brexit should be about innovations justifying British exceptionalism on the basis of moral leadership, not moral delinquency.
“When it comes to international law and our obligations to UN conventions that we didn’t just sign up to but drafted and gifted to world. Largely for historical reasons, we are one of the five permanent members at the UN, we are a G7 state and we have a historic responsibility to Africa.
“We are better than this. Or at least, we used to be.”
His comments come after a furious row erupted between the government and senior figures in the Church of England, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, over the policy.
Home secretary Priti Patel has accused the government’s critics of failing to come up with an alternative plan.
She said: “We are taking bold and innovative steps and it’s surprising that those institutions that criticise the plans fail to offer their own solutions.”