Home   Kent   News   Article

Priti Patel says Rwanda asylum plan will benefit Kent hours after council leader said they would have little impact

Home Secretary Priti Patel said her much-criticised plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda would benefit Kent amid fiery exchanges in the House of Commons.

But her words came just hours after Kent County Council leader Cllr Roger Gough (Con) said the plans would do little to tackle the county’s key issue of dealing with unaccompanied asylum seeker children arriving in Kent.

A baby is carried as part of one of the first group of asylum seekers brought ashore in 2022 Picture: UKNIP
A baby is carried as part of one of the first group of asylum seekers brought ashore in 2022 Picture: UKNIP

He said: “One of the big issues we have had in Kent is with unaccompanied minors and so far as I can see, they are not captured by this process.”

Ms Patel said the government plans include a national dispersal system so "asylum pressures" are spread more equally across the country.

She told MPs Kent had suffered disproportionately as a result of the numbers trying to cross the Channel.

She also praised the county council for its role in tackling the crisis, admitting it had been "under pressure for many, many years" and would now benefit but admitted "it has taken time".

It was unfair the county had borne a disproportionate burden caused by the failure of other authorities who had declined to take in child asylum seekers under a voluntary scheme, she said.

Priti Patel (Aaron Chown/PA)
Priti Patel (Aaron Chown/PA)

That was a "shameful reflection" on those councils who had not volunteered.

Answering a question from the former Prime Minister Theresa May, she said the reforms would not affect women and children.

Ms Patel insisted the policy is legal and was needed to tackle smuggling gangs who “effectively exploit various loopholes in our existing laws”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury was among critics of the scheme, saying in his Easter Sunday address that flying asylum seekers 6,000 miles was "against God's judgment."

Under the uncapped agreement asylum seekers will be sent to Rwanda where they will be eligible to apply to stay. They will not come back to the UK once in Africa.

The people sent to Africa were previously specified as men under 40 but today Ms Patel repeatedly failed to say who would be eligible.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More