Tory MPs have called the Archbishop of Canterbury’s stinging intervention over the government’s plan to send thousands of migrants with a one-way ticket to Rwanda ‘clumsy’.
Justin Welby told his Easter sermon congregation that the UK has a duty as a ‘Christian country’ to not ‘sub-contract our responsibilities’ after anyone who arrived in Britain illegally since January 1 could be relocated to Rwanda under a new deal.
Boris Johnson’s government said it would help to break people-smuggling networks and stem the flow of migrants across the Channel, which has faced immediate and heavy criticism from politicians and charities.
Mr Welby said the ‘serious’ ethical questions’ over sending asylum seekers abroad cannot ‘stand the judgment of god’.
He has been joined in his sentiments by Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell who called it ‘depressing and distressing’.
While cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, a committed Catholic, said the government is not ‘abandoning’ migrants but taking on a ‘very difficult responsibility’ with the ‘intention’ of doing good’ which he said is important within Christianity.
Other Tory MPs John Redwood, Mike Wood and Tom Hunt also blasted Mr Welby’s comments with Mr Hunt saying the Archbishop should be wary of ‘clumsily intervening’ into political issues.
Mr Welby also called for a ceasefire in the Russian war on Ukraine and spoke of his concern for families struggling during the cost-of-living crisis and for those bereaved by Covid-19.