Rishi Sunak ignores calls to apologise over 'crude' £1,000 Rwanda bet

The PM shook hands with Piers Morgan when offered a charity bet that ministers would not send asylum seekers to Rwanda before the next general election. Credit: PA

Rishi Sunak has ignored calls to make a Commons apology over his “crude” £1,000 bet on the success of the government’s Rwanda asylum scheme.

The prime minister shook hands with TalkTV presenter Piers Morgan when he was offered a charity bet that ministers would not be able to send asylum seekers to Rwanda by the time of the election.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn told Prime Minister’s Questions: “The public are used to the Tories gambling on the lives of others.

“Boris Johnson, he did it with public health during the pandemic. His immediate successor (Liz Truss), she did it with household finances.

“So not to be outdone, the Prime Minister on Monday this week accepted a crude bet regarding the lives of asylum seekers.

“In doing so he demeaned them as individuals and he degraded the office that he currently holds.

“So can I ask him, will he apologise?”

Mr Sunak replied: “We may have a principled disagreement on this.

“I believe and we believe that if someone comes to this country illegally they shouldn’t be able to stay, they should be removed, and that’s why we’re committed to our Rwanda scheme.”

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Mr Flynn countered: “As ever the prime minister does himself no favours because the bet to which we’re referring was worth £1,000, and it came just hours before the Prime Minister ended cost-of-living support worth just £900.

“His justification for doing so was that the cost-of-living crisis is easing.

“So can I ask him, what does he believe leaves him looking most out-of-touch with the public: gambling £1,000, or believing that the cost-of-living crisis is getting better?”

Mr Sunak replied: “He talks about the cost of living – perhaps he could explain to the Scottish people why it is that whilst the UK Conservative Government is cutting their taxes, the Scottish Government is raising them?”

Rishi Sunak has faced criticism from multiple sides following his PMQs appearance on Wednesday, where he also made a jibe about transgender women while the mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey was watching from the Commons gallery.

A visibly shocked Sir Keir condemned Mr Sunak's remark, while opposition backbenchers shouted out: "Shame".

Mr Sunak attempted to mock the leader of the Labour party's stance on "defining a woman".

Downing Street has defended the prime minister's comments, despite multiple calls for him to apologise.

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