Initially announced by Boris Johnson in April 2022, the project to send asylum seekers to Rwanda has faced multiple delays due to legal challenges, and as of now, no asylum seeker has been sent from the UK to Rwanda.
Since the inception of this initiative, the Labour Party has consistently opposed it, even in the face of potential positive outcomes. In an interview with the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire on October 9, 2023, Keir Starmer, the leader of the British Labour Party, stated that he does not view Rwanda as a welcoming country for immigrants.
The Labour Party aims to compel the government to release a series of documents regarding its policy towards Rwanda and the immigrant transfer agreement between the two nations. A vote is scheduled for Tuesday to demand ministers disclose the cost of sending each asylum seeker to Rwanda, as well as the amounts paid and to be paid to Rwanda.
Additionally, the party seeks access to the full memorandum of understanding concluded with Rwanda. If the Parliament passes this resolution, it would entail a request to King Charles III to instruct the government to release these documents.
Yvette Cooper, a member of the British Labour Party and responsible for reviewing decisions of the Home Secretary, told the BBC that it is entirely unacceptable for the Conservatives to refuse to reveal the full costs of the project’s failure with Rwanda.
Keir Starmer’s party also wants the government to release documents revealed by the BBC, suggesting that Rishi Sunak had initially considered scaling down the project when he was Chancellor in 2022.
These documents, prepared at Downing Street when Boris Johnson was trying to convince Sunak to approve the plan, show that Sunak began expressing reservations about the project two months before its announcement and the signing of the agreement between Rwanda and the UK. At that time, Rishi Sunak was still the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Speaking to BBC on Sunday, December 7, Sunak, the former Chancellor, emphasized his duty to scrutinize every proposal as Chancellor, stressing the need for skepticism to guarantee taxpayers’ value for money.
Despite this, he expressed unwavering confidence in the success of the Rwanda immigration agreement. In December 2023, the UK Parliament approved a revised project with 313 votes in favor and 269 against. The bill will undergo further refinement based on feedback before its presentation to the Assembly in January 2024.