'It's Never Going To Work': Kay Burley Clashes With Grant Shapps Over Tory Rwanda Plan

The defence secretary admitted it was "impossible" to know when the first deportation flights will take off.
Kay Burley and Grant Shapps
Kay Burley and Grant Shapps
Sky News

Kay Burley told Grant Shapps that the government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is “never going to work” during a tense interview this morning.

The pair clashed as rival factions of Tory MPs prepare to meet later today to decide whether or not to vote for emergency legislation aimed at finally getting flights to the African country off the ground.

Right-wing MPs believe the bill does not go far enough, while their moderate colleagues are uncomfortable that it would give ministers rather than the courts the power to declare Rwanda a safe country.

On Sky News this morning, Shapps insisted that the government’s plans to tackle illegal immigration had already seen the number of small boats crossing the Channel reduce by a third.

But Burley told him there was no evidence that the Rwanda plan would deter asylum seekers from trying to make the perilous crossing.

She said: “Why don’t you guys just accept that this is not going to work, cut your losses and forget about it and look at other ways to make this work?”

Shapps replied: “I think that would be incredibly defeatist. The point of this is that so far, as I’ve mentioned, we’ve slashed crossing this year by a third.”

As Burley interrupted to point out that was “nothing to do with Rwanda”, Shapps went on: “Every single measure that we’ve introduced has been opposed by the Labour Party.”

But the exasperated presenter said: “We’re not talking about Labour, minister, we’re talking about you guys.

“It’s symbolism, it’s never going to work, the planes are never going to take off and it’s about time you cut your losses.”

Shapps hit back: “I just don’t agree and that sort of defeatism might suit others. We won’t stop doing it just because it’s difficult to get through.”

Later in the interview, Burley asked him when the first flight carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda will take off.

The minister replied: “It’s impossible to know exactly because parliament needs to pass it first of all. That can be sped through if Labour finally want to get behind a plan to stop people trafficking.”

He added: “Doubtless these things will be tested in court. We believe this legislation is the way to make sure it is legally robust and gets through the courts.”


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