Andrew Marr: Rwanda scheme designed to get people 'worked up' and make us choose sides

14 June 2022, 18:11 | Updated: 14 June 2022, 18:13

By Sophie Barnett

The Rwanda scheme is designed to get people "worked up" and make us choose sides, Andrew Marr has said.

Opening LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, the presenter asked: "Why is it that when it comes to individuals, we still seem to divide the world into good and bad countries?

“I've noticed, for instance, that among the few asylum seekers being packed off to Rwanda tonight, assuming the plane takes off later on, is a Syrian refugee - a young man who refused to join the murderous Syrian Army, is now on hunger strike and has threatened to kill himself.

“Meanwhile as, five years on, we remember the horrific Grenfell fire which killed 72 people in a London tower block containing more than its fair share of migrants, the first named victim was a Syrian refugee Muhammad al Hajj Ali.

“If you want to get on in life, my advice is, don't get yourself born in Syria.

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“I understand of course why we feel a special sympathy for Ukrainian refugees right now. But let's not forget that the Russian tactics used to terrorise cities and murder civilians were tried out first, not in Ukraine, but in Syria.

“Anyway, the first reports were that the flight’s likely to set off from RAF Boscombe near Salisbury. On that flight I’m told there will be two married men, one with a son in Carlisle.

“Two others have families in the UK, five are victims of trafficking or torture and one has PTSD, which will make the flight particularly traumatic. The government’s aware of all of this.

“Another likely deportee, this time from Iran, told reporters he didn't understand "why I would be relocated to Rwanda when Ukrainians are welcomed, given a better life, shelter and everything they need. Regardless of origin, we are all human beings”. He is also, by the way, threatening to kill himself.

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“I'm not going to go on a rant tonight. I understand that this policy is all about getting people worked up, trying to get us to choose sides - goody countries, baddy countries – pick a side everyone, Prince Charles and the dripping wet archbishops, or Boris and the plain people of England who think nobody ever listens to them.

“Tonight, Boris Johnson has hinted that Britain will pull out of the European Convention of Human Rights to stop appeals against the deportations.

“Apparently, the clever people in government call this wedge politics. I can think of a different name.”