Labour set to table vote demanding Government publish Rwanda documents

Tuesday 9th January 2024

Labour will table a vote in Parliament on Tuesday calling for the release of documents relating to the Government’s Rwanda migrants deportation policy.

The vote, which will be part of a Humble Address on the Opposition Day debate in the Commons, will ask for any documents that show the cost of relocating each individual asylum seeker to Rwanda as well as a list of all payments made or scheduled to be made to Rwanda’s government.

It will also ask for the Government’s internal breakdown of the more than 35,000 asylum decisions made last year and an unredacted copy of the confidential memorandum of understanding ministers reached with the East African country.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the Government’s refusal to “come clean” on the cost of the Rwanda scheme is “totally unacceptable”.

“The Conservatives should stop dragging out this chaos and come clean about the real costs and problems,” Ms Cooper said.

“So far costs are apparently rising to £400 million of taxpayers money with more Home Secretaries than asylum seekers sent to Kigali and it is only likely to cover less than 1% of those arriving in the UK.”

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It comes after claims that No 10 papers from March 2022, a month before the Rwanda plan was announced by then prime minister Boris Johnson, show that now Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had doubts over the impact of deporting migrants to Kigali.

The documents suggest he was also concerned about the cost of sending asylum seekers to Africa and wanted to limit the numbers.

Ms Cooper said: “We now know Rishi Sunak had huge doubts about the scheme when he was Chancellor and we’ve heard he tried to cancel it in the leadership campaign.

“It is totally unacceptable that the Conservatives have refused to come clean on the full costs of the failing Rwanda scheme.”

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak on Monday stressed the importance of the Rwanda policy and insisted he never said he was going to axe the policy, but did not deny considering it.

He said: “I didn’t say I was going to scrap it. I mean that’s completely false. Of course I didn’t.”