UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer Announces End to Controversial Rwanda Deportation Policy

Despite its intentions, the plan was stymied by persistent legal challenges and no deportations were executed.

In a decisive move following his electoral victory, Britain’s new Prime Minister, Keir Starmer, announced on Saturday his intent to abolish the contentious policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda.

This policy, initially introduced by the previous Conservative government in 2022, aimed to deter migrants who entered Britain unauthorized, particularly those arriving by small boats.

Despite its intentions, the plan was stymied by persistent legal challenges and no deportations were executed.

During his inaugural press conference as prime minister, Starmer highlighted the ineffectiveness of the Rwanda scheme, noting that it would have likely resulted in the removal of only about 1% of asylum seekers.

“The Rwanda scheme was dead and buried before it started.

“It’s never been a deterrent,” he stated, expressing his refusal to perpetuate policies that fail to serve their purpose.

Starmer’s electoral triumph has handed him one of the most substantial parliamentary majorities in recent British history, positioning him as a dominant figure in national politics reminiscent of former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

However, his administration is tasked with addressing multiple challenges, such as bolstering the faltering public services and stimulating the stagnant economy.

At the press event, which took place at Downing Street, Starmer fielded around a dozen inquiries, often about his strategy for resolving national issues, though he remained vague on specific plans.

When pressed on whether he would implement difficult decisions, including tax increases, to address these challenges, he responded affirmatively about making tough early decisions but did not commit to any tax changes that had not been previously discussed.

Starmer also declared the formation of various “mission delivery boards,” which he will chair to prioritize sectors like healthcare and economic development.

The debate over the strategy to halt asylum seekers from crossing from France into the UK had dominated the six-week electoral campaign.

Critics of the Rwanda policy called it immoral and unfeasible, a stance reinforced last November when the UK Supreme Court ruled it unlawful, declaring Rwanda an unsafe third country.

This prompted the government to negotiate a new treaty with Rwanda and pass legislation to circumvent the court’s decision—a move still contested in legal circles.

As part of his government’s initiatives, Starmer plans to establish a Border Security Command to consolidate efforts from police, intelligence, and prosecutorial bodies to combat human smuggling.

This announcement was met with approval from human rights groups, including Freedom from Torture whose CEO, Sonya Sceats, commended Starmer for his swift action to end what she described as a “shameful scheme” that jeopardized the lives of those fleeing torture and persecution.