Gary Lineker and Brian Cox among high profile names calling on government to scrap its Rwanda plan | UK News

December 11, 2023
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TV presenter Gary Lineker and Succession star Brian Cox are among the high-profile names who have signed a letter calling on the government to scrap its Rwanda plan.

The signatories of the letter are also urging political leaders to come up with a “fair new plan for refugees”.

They say asylum policies are not working and Britain’s refugee system is “ever-more uncaring, chaotic and costly”.

The letter has also been signed by women’s rights campaigner Helen Pankhurst, Hotel Rwanda star Sophie Okonedo, the former head of the British Army Lord Dannatt, and TV chef Big Zuu, who is the son of a refugee from Sierra Leone.

It comes in the week MPs will debate and vote on the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill.

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Kay Burley questions the defence secretary about the government’s Rwanda scheme..

The government hopes to rush emergency legislation through parliament declaring Rwanda a safe destination for asylum seekers, after the Supreme Court ruled against the scheme last month.

The letter, co-ordinated by campaign coalition Together With Refugees, states: “Our government is still trying to banish people fleeing persecution to Rwanda despite the highest court in the land ruling the scheme unlawful.

“Tens of thousands of people are stuck in limbo waiting for their refugee protection to be processed, separated from their families and barred from working.

“These policies aren’t working for refugees and they aren’t working for local communities.

“That’s why we have come together to say we’ve had enough. Enough of the division. Enough of the short-term thinking. Enough of the wasted human potential. And it’s why we now call for something better.”

Signatories want political leaders of all parties to commit to “a fair new plan for refugees” which includes upholding the UK’s commitment under international law to the right to claim asylum and scrapping the Rwanda scheme.

The letter marks the start of the coalition’s Fair Begins Here campaign which also demands a “proper strategy for welcoming and integrating refugees” through “fair, rapid decisions on their application for asylum”.

It also calls for stronger global co-operation “to tackle the root causes that force people to flee their homes and provides positive solutions when they do, including through safe routes to refugee protection”.

Read more:
What is the revamped Rwanda plan?
Labour furious as govt reveals cost of Rwanda policy
Tory right to hold summit on star chamber’s Rwanda plan verdict

Former England footballer Lineker, who has been outspoken on the issue, said: “We need a new system that reflects the will of the British people who have opened their homes, donated and volunteered in their local communities.

“That’s why I’m backing this new campaign – because fair really can begin here.”

Together With Refugees said polling has shown less than a fifth (18%) of people think the government’s approach to the asylum system is working well, rising to just over a quarter (28%) of respondents who intend to vote Conservative at the next election.

Overall, 83% of the 1,014 adult respondents to the Focaldata polling from last week said they want an asylum system that is well managed, fair and compassionate.



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