Bishop of Manchester 'deeply concerned' about Rwanda deportation plan

Bishop of Manchester David Walker has added his support to a letter written by the two Archbishops.

The Bishop of Manchester says he is "deeply concerned" over the government's plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.

David Walker has added his support to a letter written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, and the Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell.

It comes as the first flight taking asylum seekers to the African country is set to leave the UK at 10:30pm on Tuesday (14 June).

In the letter to The Times newspaper, the Archbishops said the policy "should shame us as a nation."

"The shame is our own, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have for centuries," it said.

"This immoral policy shames Britain."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, said the policy is ‘immoral’ Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

Bishop of Manchester David Walker, said: "The government's policy around refugees reached a point where we had to stand up with one voice.

"None of us are saying that everybody should be allowed to stay here whatever their case, we're saying that those who are proper refugees should be treated as refugees."

David Walker said he believes that the policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda is "one more nail in the coffin of Britain's reputation".

  • Bishop of Manchester David Walker condemned the Rwanda policy

A Government spokesman insisted the policy was compliant with Britain's national and international obligations and was necessary to combat the activities of the human trafficking gangs.

Ministers argue that only firm action will deter migrants from continuing to attempt the dangerous Channel crossing to try and reach the UK.

On Monday 13 June, three Court of Appeal judges upheld a High Court ruling last week that the removals could go ahead, rejecting an appeal by two refugee charities and the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS).

Today, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss confirmed that the first flight would go ahead, take off no matter how few people are on board.

A Government spokesman acknowledged that further legal challenges and last-minute claims could be expected, but insisted it would press on with the policy.

"We welcome the court's decision in our favour, and we will now continue to deliver on progressing our world-leading migration partnership which will help prevent loss of life and break the business model of vile people smugglers," the spokesman said.

"Rwanda is a safe country and has previously been recognised for providing a safe haven for refugees - we will not be deterred in delivering our plans to fix the broken asylum system which will ultimately save lives."

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