New UK leader Starmer declares Rwanda deportation plan ‘dead and buried’

London, July 6 (Reuters/GNA) – Britain’s new Prime Minister Keir Starmer said on Saturday he would scrap a controversial plan to fly thousands of asylum seekers from Britain to Rwanda in his first major policy announcement since winning a landslide election victory.

The previous Conservative government first announced the plan in 2022 to send migrants who arrived in Britain without permission to the East African nation, saying it would put an end to asylum seekers arriving on small boats.

But no one was sent to Rwanda under the plan because of years of legal challenges.

At his first press conference since becoming prime minister, Starmer said that the Rwanda policy would be scrapped because only about 1% of asylum seekers would have been removed and it would have failed to act as a deterrent.

“The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started. It’s never been a deterrent,” Starmer said. “I’m not prepared to continue with gimmicks that don’t act as a deterrent.”

Starmer won one of the largest parliamentary majorities in modern British history on Friday, making him the most powerful British leader since former Prime Minister Tony Blair, but he faces a number of challenges, including improving struggling public services and reviving a weak economy.

At the press conference in Downing Street, Starmer answered about a dozen questions and was repeatedly asked about how and when he would start delivering on his promises to fix the nation’s problems, but he gave few specifics about what he planned.

GNA/Credit: Reuters