Dulwich residents have been reacting to the government’s plans to send unauthorised migrants to Rwanda, branding the scheme “appalling” and “terrible”.
The controversial deal, signed by Home Secretary Priti Patel on Thursday 14 April, would see Rwanda take on responsibility for migrants entering the UK via illegal routes.
Dulwich Village is one of the few electoral wards in Southwark that could turn blue in the local elections this May.
So, the News headed to Dulwich Park to find out what soon-to-be voters made of the Conservative party’s Rwanda scheme.
Nigel Blakelock, Dulwich Village resident said: “I think it’s a really bad idea. The Home Secretary is, I think a rather unfeeling person to put it mildly. They are going somewhere where god knows what’ll happen to them. I’m glad I’m not one of them.”
Nuala Cassin agreed, saying: “I think it’s terrible because people have already had such heartache, and they are already coming from wartorn countries.”
Actor, Alexander Jarrett, 31, who has lived in Dulwich Village for twenty years, said: “It’s morally wrong. What’s sickening about it is it’s the kind of thing that they know will be popular with the Tory base.”
Last year 28,526 people are known to have illegally crossed the English Channel in small boats, up from 8,404 in 2020.
Damien Hackett, Dulwich Village resident of twenty years, said: “If people are coming here illegally, then I think it’s not an unreasonable way of stopping the problem which is people assuming they can come to the UK.”
Andrew Griffiths, the PM’s policy chief in Number 10, said the policy could be “implemented and operationalised in weeks or a small number of months”.
However, Patel has had to issue a ministerial direction to overrule civil servants that were concerned the scheme won’t deliver value for money. The UK could also face legal challenges after the United Nations Refugee Agency expressed strong opposition to the plans.
Francis Kiwanuka, Dulwich Village resident, said: “Moving migrants is going to be very costly but also, from a legal perspective, there will be legal challenges and some of those appeals might be successful.”
Finn Glendon agreed: “I have been to Rwanda and I know there is not really the infrastructure to support people who are traumatised.”
Luke O’Shea-Phillips, who works in photography, said: “I don’t truly believe it’s anything they’re ever going to do. It’s false flag waving in order to manipulate the mindset around how bad the Tories are doing.”
The UK government has paid Rwanda £120 million as part of the deal. The Times has reported that it would cost between £20,000 and £30,000 for each migrant to be sent to Rwanda.
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Dulwich Village councillor candidates for the Conservative Party have been approached for comment.