Last Wednesday there was this session in Parliament under the headline of “Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda” and during the debate my personal MP Caroline Lucas asked a very good quality question and the responses from Priti Patel were very disturbing. My personal view is that anyone who is concerned about this could endorse a petition which is entitled “Stop the government’s ‘one way ticket’ plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda” which is available here and which currently has 11,600 signatures that include 52 in our constituency so there is plenty more signatures that could be submitted in our area and indeed across the nation. The three areas that are most supportive of it are Cambridge, Totnes and Westmorland. Sadly the only constituency that has not endorsed it is Upper Bann in Northern Ireland. It would be fantastic if we could shift it to 100,000 which would then enable MPs like Caroline Lucas to discuss it based on the petition response. Here is the question and answer sessions involving Caroline Lucas and Priti Patel.
Caroline Lucas: The Home Secretary has the gall to talk about a moral response to this situation. The moral response would be to provide safe and legal routes for those people who are exercising their legal right—their legal right—to seek asylum. The Government do not even have a basic monitoring and safety process in place for this ugly policy. The monitoring committee promised in their memorandum of under-standing with Rwanda is still not going to be set up for several months. She is not even exercising the most basic care. Is that because she knows full well that, if she did, no decent committee or procedure would ever agree to trade refugees in this despicable way?
Priti Patel: I want to come back to the grotesque mis-characterisation of the country in question, Rwanda. It is a shame and a stain, actually.
Caroline Lucas: I haven’t said anything about Rwanda.
Priti Patel: The hon. Lady may like to read the country report, and the work that has been done in country and in terms of the monitoring committee. That work is actually taking place and we have had officials in country for weeks and weeks in the two months, not several months, since we made this announcement.
I was very unhappy with these words from Priti Patel and I would like to see a growth from the petition in order to challenge her and her colleagues.