Former Tory home secretary Amber Rudd calls Rwanda plan ‘brutal’

Initiative should never have been introduced, Rudd says

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 26, 2018 Britain's Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd leaves 10 Downing Street in London on November 26, 2018 after attending the weekly meeting of the cabinet.  senior government minister called on December 15, 2018 for British MPs from all parties to "forge a consensus" on Brexit to avoid a potentially damaging "no deal" withdrawal from the EU in March. / AFP / Ben STANSALL
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The British government’s controversial scheme to send migrants on a one-way trip to Rwanda should never have been introduced and is “brutal” and “impractical”, a former Tory home secretary has said.

Amber Rudd, who held the role from 2016 to 2018 before resigning over the Windrush scandal, said it was “extraordinary” for the current Home Secretary Suella Braverman to say she dreamt of seeing it through.

The former Conservative MP, who briefly sat as an independent after her split with the party, said ministers should address the English Channel crossings by improving Britain’s relations with France.

“The government has proposed this idea of sending people to Rwanda," Ms Rudd told GB News. "I don’t believe in it. For a start, I think it is a brutal policy, which we should not have introduced anyway.

“But it is also, putting that aside, impractical. I just don’t believe it will ever happen.

"So I think there’s a real problem with the growing numbers of people putting their lives in danger. In a way, it’s a shared problem with the French.

“I hope that this new government is going to address it by having a better relationship with the French. I mean, let’s face it, it can only improve.”

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At the Conservative Party conference in October, Ms Braverman said it was her “dream” and “obsession” to have a plane take off for the East African nation, after the scheme was stalled by legal challenges.

Ms Rudd called these remarks extraordinary, and said Ms Braverman should wish for a “safer policy” .

But she acknowledged that it would be “difficult politically” for the Tories to retreat from an initiative they have said is the answer.

“She’s entitled to dream about having borders where you don’t have lots of people arriving across a dangerous passage like the Channel, but not perhaps to put it quite in those terms that she has,” Ms Rudd said.

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She said she was “surprised” to see Ms Braverman returned to her role at the Home Office after she was forced out of Liz Truss’s Cabinet over a breach of ministerial code.

But Ms Rudd said it was an extremely testing job, and Ms Braverman should be given a go.

“I think there are very few politicians who wake up in the morning and think, ‘You know ,what I really want to do, I want to be Home Secretary’," she said.

"It’s not a job that people usually really want to do because it is incredibly hard.

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“When I say hard, it’s not just difficult to get right, like we’ve been discussing on immigration, you’re also dealing with some of the worst of humanity, the things you have to try and see and help people with.

“So let’s give her a chance and see how it goes.”

Ms Rudd served as work and pensions secretary after her tenure in the Home Office but quit the Cabinet and Conservative Party in September 2019 in protest against Boris Johnson’s handling of Brexit.

Updated: October 27, 2022, 8:22 PM