UK MP suggests drastically increasing capacity on controversial Rwanda deportation flights

UK MP suggests drastically increasing capacity on controversial Rwanda deportation flights
3 min read
14 June, 2022
Conservative MP Peter Bone said 'a number of the people' scheduled to be deported to Rwanda on Tuesday have 'somehow, miraculously got some lefty lawyer to intervene and stop it'.
Conservative lawmaker Peter Bone made the suggestion in the UK's parliament on Monday [NurPhoto/Getty-archive]

A UK Conservative lawmaker has prompted outrage after proposing a hike in the number of asylum seekers booked on deportation flights to Rwanda to counteract the efforts of "lefty lawyers".

Wellingborough MP Peter Bone was speaking in parliament on Monday during a debate about the first of these controversial deportations, scheduled for Tuesday despite rights groups' opposition.

"We hear that a number of the people who are on the flight to Rwanda tomorrow [Tuesday] have somehow, miraculously, got some lefty lawyer to intervene and stop it," Bone said.

"So, can I suggest [to] the minister that instead of booking 50 people on each flight to Rwanda, book 250 people on it and then when they stop half of them from travelling, you still have a full flight.

"Come on. Get on and send them."

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Illegal migration minister Tom Pursglove responded by saying that "as ever" he was "grateful" to Bone for his suggestion and "certainly takes [it] on board".

"I'm not in a position today, for obvious reasons, to comment on operational matters, but his point is well made, it's well argued, as his points often are," Pursglove added.

Some Twitter users reacted with outrage after a video of the exchange was posted to the social media site by British broadcaster ITV.

"[The] UK will be much improved if we deported Peter Bone to Rwanda with free copies of John Donne and Shakespeare so he learns something about British values on his way, which are not the values of these undead gargoyles," said Los Angeles Review of Books contributing editor Idrees Ahmad.

Another user commented: "Twitter, show me someone who has completely lost any sense of compassion, perspective or humanity. Peter Bone."

Criminal defence lawyer Aamer Anwar criticised Pursglove's response to the backbencher.

He tweeted: "The miserable punchline is at the end as a UK Government Minister actually says that this Tory MP Peter Bone's 'point is well made', who argued 'lefty lawyers' have blocked Rwanda deportations."

Refugee charity Care4Calais said on Tuesday morning that there were seven people scheduled for deportation to Rwanda later in the day.

The organisation, which was part of an unsuccessful legal attempt to secure an injunction preventing Tuesday's flight, said 24 others have had their tickets cancelled.

But British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she "can't say exactly how many people will be on the flight" during an interview with broadcaster Sky News.

Asked whether it's "possible" nobody would be on board, she responded: "There will be people on the flight and if they are not on this flight they will be on the next flight."