Activists protesting against 'inhumane' Rwanda plan for migrants disrupt Priti Patel event

Footage by campaigning group Green New Deal shows protesters at a party dinner

Four activists stood up and made statements at a dinner attended by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. EPA

Activists campaigning against Britain's plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda have disrupted a speech by the Cabinet minister responsible for its implementation.

Home Secretary Priti Patel was shouted down by protesters during a Conservative party dinner where they called it a “racist” and “inhumane” policy.

Ms Patel and the government see the Rwanda plan as a key element in their strategy to reduce the number of migrants making the dangerous English Channel crossing from France.

She was speaking at the Bassetlaw Conservatives Spring Dinner in Nottinghamshire on Friday when several activists stood up on their chairs and began denouncing Ms Patel for the policy.

Footage published on Twitter by campaigning group Green New Deal shows a woman stand up and tell Ms Patel: “Priti Patel, your racist policies are killing people.

“Your plans to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda are inhumane, they're inhumane and are going to ruin people's lives.”

The crowd at the dinner then begins booing the activist, and shouting for her to “sit down” while she is led away by a man.

Another activist stands up, and tells Ms Patel the group is “disgusted by your [her] treatment of refugees in the UK”.

Three other activists stand up and make statements before the group chants: “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” as they are led out of the venue.

Holly Hudson, 27, a Green New Deal Rising activist who was part of the protest, said: “I want to grow up in a society that cares and respects people wherever they come from.

“I am disgusted by Priti Patel's Rwanda plan and her immigration policies. They are violent, illegal and inhumane and have been condemned across society.

“This bill is a direct act of harm to those seeking safety. Whoever we are, we all deserve safety and compassion and that's why we took action today.”

Hannah Martin, from Green New Deal Rising, added: “The plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is inhumane and will lead to the destruction of people's lives and further harm those people who are seeking safety.

“Those who stand for climate justice also stand against Priti Patel's cruel plans that demonise people who are escaping terrifying situations as they bear the brunt of the multiple crises of war, poverty and the climate catastrophe.

“These crises in the Global South are the direct result of centuries of exploitation by wealthy countries, such as the UK. We believe it is the responsibility of our Government to provide safety for people facing these situations.

“We want Priti Patel to drop the dangerous Rwanda migration plan and provide support and safety for migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum.”

The Rwanda plan — which has received criticism and legal challenges — involves the East African nation receiving asylum seekers considered by the UK to have arrived “illegally”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously said the partnership between Rwanda and the UK was a “very, very sensible thing”, describing it as a “great deal between two countries, each helping the other”.

A Home Office representative said: “The world-leading Migration Partnership will overhaul our broken asylum system, which is currently costing the UK taxpayer £1.5 billion a year — the highest amount in two decades.

“It means those arriving dangerously, illegally or unnecessarily can be relocated to have their asylum claims considered and, if recognised as refugees, build their lives there.”

Brendan Clarke-Smith, the Conservative MP for Bassetlaw, said he was “sorry” the activists had to leave the event early as they “missed an excellent speech” by Ms Patel.

Updated: May 08, 2022, 5:45 AM