Rishi Sunak Admits No Rwanda Deportation Flights Before July 4 General Election

The prime minister said his flagship scheme to "stop the boats" will not be up and running before polling day.
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Rishi Sunak has admitted flights taking asylum seekers to Rwanda will not take off before the general election.

The prime minister has said he will “stop the boats” carrying migrants across the channel by sending anyone who makes the crossing to the east African country.

But speaking to LBC on Thursday morning, he conceded for the first time this would not happen before July 4.

“I’ve said the first flights will go in July. If I am elected we will get the flights off after the election,” he said.

Sunak said the “preparation work has already gone on” to make the policy work.

He added: “I believe you need to have a deterrent. I believe you need to be able to send people to a safe third country.”

Keir Starmer has said he would scrap the Rwanda scheme should he become prime minister.

It means if Labour wins the general election - as is widely expected - it seems likely no flights will ever depart.

Lib Dem home affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said: “This is an utter humiliation and admission of defeat from a prime minister who has thrown millions at his failing vanity project.

“The Rwanda scheme has been an immoral and expensive disaster from day one.

“To think that the money already spent on this failing policy could have paid for nearly 7 million GP appointments instead just adds insult to injury.”

Sunak’s interview came on day one of the general election campaign, following his surprise announcement yesterday to go to the country on July 4.

The prime minister was drenched by the rain as he revealed the move outside in Downing Street.

His speech was also disrupted by Labour Party anthem ‘Things can only get better’ being played by protesters nearby.

Labour has held a comfortable lead in the polls for some time and Sunak - who is also personally unpopular with voters - is seen to be leading the Tories to a heavy defeat.


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