Daniel Martin, Daily Mail, April 15, 2022
Voters back Boris Johnson’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda by two to one, a poll revealed last night.
The survey for the Daily Mail found that even Labour voters are more likely to support it than oppose it – potentially causing problems for party leader Sir Keir Starmer.
It comes after the Prime Minister vowed to face down Left-wing lawyers who try to thwart the move.
Organisations such as Amnesty International have been highly critical of the plan, saying that Rwanda has a ‘dismal’ human rights record.
And yesterday Gillian Triggs, assistant high commissioner at the UN refugee agency, said the scheme was ‘unacceptable’ and a breach of international law.
But Mr Johnson insisted on Thursday that the African nation was one of the safest countries on the planet as Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a historic deal with Rwandan officials.
Yesterday around 160 migrants arrived in the UK by small boat, with one group of about 50 people brought to Dover by Border Force officials.
The poll of more than 1,000 adults, carried out by Savanta for the Mail, found that while 47 per cent of all voters say they support the idea, just 26 per cent are against. The rest say they do not know or have no opinion.
Among those who voted Labour at the last election, 39 per cent say they support the move compared with 36 per cent who do not.
The survey also revealed that most believe the plan will be effective at deterring economic migrants. However, many have concerns over the initial £120million cost, with only 39 per cent saying they think it represents ‘value for money’.
It emerged yesterday that the Home Office’s top civil servant had raised an objection to the policy over value for money grounds.
A Home Office source said that while permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft supported the scheme, he had raised concerns that the cost of it was difficult to model.
This is because it was the first time such a scheme had been implemented, and because the number of migrants was affected by international factors.
This forced Miss Patel to issue a ‘ministerial direction’ to push the policy through – as were used for many Covid schemes.
A Home Office source said: ‘The asylum system is costing the taxpayer more than £1.5billion per year – the highest amount in over two decades. Officials are clear that deterring illegal entry would create significant savings.
‘It would be wrong to let a lack of precise modelling delay a policy aimed at reducing illegal migration, saving lives, and breaking the business model of smuggling gangs.’
Yesterday Conservative former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell warned that the scheme would incur ‘eye-watering’ costs for taxpayers and said it would be cheaper to house asylum seekers in the Ritz.
But Home Office minister Tom Pursglove said sending asylum seekers to Rwanda will save Britain money in the ‘longer term’.
Under the scheme, some people who have entered Britain and applied for asylum will be flown to Rwanda to have their applications processed. If successful, they will be given long-term accommodation there.