UK Prime minister, Boris Johnson ‘set to announce plans to send migrants to Rwanda to be processed under secretive deal worth millions to African nation

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, is expected to unveil plans to transport migrants to Rwanda to be processed under a “secretive pact worth millions” with the African country.

According to a government source, the Prime Minister has been informed that the preparations are not yet complete, despite his intention to reveal them last week in response to an increase in the number of migrants crossing the Channel.

Before the specifics of the Rwanda deal can be agreed, ministers are waiting for Priti Patel’s Nationality and Borders Bill, which would allow asylum seekers to be processed overseas, to pass through the House of Lords and receive royal assent, according to the Times.

The government would fly asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing under the idea.

The plan would see the government fly asylum seekers out to Rwanda for processing while the UK pays the African country millions of pounds.

On Monday evening, the House of Lords voted against the bill, extending the Parliamentary battle over the flagship bill. 

It comes as the number of migrants to have crossed the Channel so far this year passed 4,500. In 2021,  a total of 28,526 people crossed the Channel, but this year is expected to break that record. 

The deal has been described as ‘secretive’ with ministers only allowed to refer to ‘country X’ during meetings. 

There have been similar attempts to offshore migrants in Ghana and Albania, but these plans have fallen through, according to the report. 

However, the bill has met resistance in the Commons where Tory MP David Davis has tabled an amendment to scrap the measures. 

Speaking during the debate, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler, was deeply critical of a move enabling the offshoring of asylum seekers to overseas processing centres, similar to those used by Australia.

He said: ‘When people arrive on our shores seeking protection we have a responsibility to treat them as we would wish to be treated if we indeed had to flee for our lives.

‘If we move them to other countries for the process of their asylum claims I very much fear a blind eye will be turned to their treatment.

‘The inhumanity of this part of the Bill is my primary concern. There are however significant practical and financial concerns.’

Labour frontbencher Lord Rosser said: ‘Campaigners claim it will cost less to put asylum seekers in the Ritz than run an offshoring policy.

‘But experience elsewhere and not least for Australia suggests that the cost of such a scheme would be considerable per person, not cost effective.’

But Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said: ‘Asylum processing overseas is one part of a system-wide reform designed to break the business model of people smugglers and disincentivise unwanted behaviours.’

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