‘It will work!’ Ann Widdecombe explains when Rwanda deterrent will take effect

Rwanda 'deterrent effect will be felt' says Ann Widdecombe

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Boris Johnson accused lawyers representing migrants of “abetting the work of criminal gangs” as he defended the plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda ahead of the expected first flight on Tuesday. The plans have been challenged in the courts and condemned by the Church of England’s senior bishops and reportedly by the Prince of Wales, with the Prime Minister acknowledging that there had been criticism from “some slightly unexpected quarters”. Former MEP Ann Widdecombe has explained that deterrence will only work when people are sent back.

Speaking to GB News, Ms Widdecombe said: “This I believe will work.

“There’s only going to be a handful of people going today but that doesn’t matter.

“Once it becomes regular and the numbers being sent to Rwanda grow then the deterrent effect will be felt.

“That’s what it is all about, deterrence.

“There’s no deterrence because no one’s actually gone back.

“The moment you sent half a dozen back, you’re sending out a different message.”

Three people who are due to be put on the first flight to Rwanda are bringing last-minute High Court bids to remain in the UK.

The flight is expected to depart the UK on Tuesday evening and just seven people are due to be on board, after a number were removed from the scheduled flight following legal challenges and reviews by the Home Office.

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Of those seven, lawyers representing three – including two from Iran – are seeking an order to prevent their removal to Rwanda.

A challenge by a fourth asylum seeker was rejected earlier on Tuesday.

Opening the Cabinet meeting in No 10, Mr Johnson said there was a “huge amount of attack” aimed at the policy.

“What is happening with the attempt to undermine the Rwanda policy is that they are, I’m afraid, undermining everything that we’re trying to do to support safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK and to oppose the illegal and dangerous routes.

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“That is what we are trying to do, that is the essence of our policy.

“And I think that what the criminal gangs are doing and what those who effectively are abetting the work of the criminal gangs are doing is undermining people’s confidence in the safe and legal system, undermining people’s general acceptance of immigration.”

The Prime Minister added: “We are not going to be in any way deterred or abashed by some of the criticism that is being directed upon this policy, some of it from slightly unexpected quarters.

“We are going to get on and deliver.

“The objective is to ensure that we make that clear distinction, that I think everybody can see is fair and reasonable, between legal immigration to this country by safe and legal routes, which we support and uphold and protect because we all understand the benefits that it brings, and distinguishing that from dangerous and illegal cross-Channel migration which we intend to stop.”

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