What a cop out! Michael Portillo rages at Archbishop over Rwanda comments

Michael Portillo criticises the Archbishop of Canterbury

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Delivering a sermon on Easter Sunday at Canterbury Cathedral, Justin Welby said the strategy announced last week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson posed “serious ethical questions”. Anyone who arrived in Britain illegally since Jan. 1 could be relocated to Rwanda under the deal. The former Treasury minister criticised Mr Welby for not giving any alternatives.

Speaking to GB News, Mr Portillo said: “I think the second sentence is interesting.

“He said the details are for politicians.

“What a cop out. You can’t get into politics without getting into the policy options.

“He is saying he won’t accept this policy option so, are they to go on dying in the Channel?”

Mr Welby said in his Easter sermon: “The details are for politics and politicians. The principle must stand the judgment of God and it cannot.

“It cannot carry the weight of our national responsibility as a country formed by Christian values, because sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures.”

Mr Welby is the spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion of about 85 million Christians.

Archbishop of Canterbury slams Rwanda immigration plan

Jacob Rees-Mogg has since said the Archbishop has misunderstood the aims of the Government’s plans to send migrants to Rwanda.

Speaking on Radio 4’s The World This Weekend programme, he said: “I think he misunderstands what the policy is trying to achieve, and that it isn’t an abandonment of responsibility, it is in fact a taking on of a very difficult responsibility.

“The problem that is being dealt with is that people are risking their lives in the hands of people traffickers, to get into this country illegally. Now, it’s not the illegal bit of it, it is the encouragement of people traffickers that needs to be stopped.”

He said “90 percent of people coming are young men who by coming via people traffickers are jumping the queue for others”.


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Mr Rees-Mogg added: “They are in doing so not only risking their lives but supporting organised crime.

“What we need to do is focus on legal routes into this country, of which there are quite a number.”

It comes as an exchange of letters published by the Home Office on Saturday night showed the department’s Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft warned Home Secretary Priti Patel that although the policy was “regular, proper and feasible”, there was “uncertainty surrounding the value for money of the proposal”.

But issuing a rare ministerial direction compelling the plans to go ahead despite the concern, Ms Patel said that “without action, costs will continue to rise, lives will continue to be lost”.

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