Constituent policy

Activists accuse Patel of ‘racist and inhumane’ Rwandan politics over dinner

Activists accused Priti Patel of ‘racist’ and ‘inhumane’ policies over government plans to send migrants to Rwanda during her appearance at a Conservative Party dinner.

The Home Secretary was speaking at the Bassetlaw Tory Spring Dinner in Nottinghamshire on Friday when several campaigners rose from their chairs and began slamming Ms Patel for the policy.

The plan – which has been the subject of criticism and legal challenges – will see the East African nation receive asylum seekers deemed by the UK to have arrived “illegally”.

Footage posted to Twitter by activist group Green New Deal shows a woman standing up and saying to Ms Patel: “Priti Patel, your racist policies are killing people.

“Your plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda are inhumane, they are inhumane and will ruin people’s lives.”

The dinner crowd then began booing the activist and shouting at her to “sit down” as she was led away by a man.

Another activist stands up, telling Ms Patel the group was ‘disgusted by your [her] treatment of refugees in the United Kingdom”.

Three other activists stand and make statements before the group chants “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” as they are led out of the room.

Holly Hudson, 27, a Green New Deal Rising activist who was part of the protest, said: ‘I want to grow up in a society that cares and respects people wherever they come from. I am disgusted by Priti Patel’s Rwanda plan and immigration policy. They are violent, illegal and inhumane and have been condemned throughout society.

“This bill is an act of direct harm to those seeking security. Whoever we are, we all deserve safety and compassion and that is why we acted today.

Hannah Martin of Green New Deal Rising added: “The plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is inhumane and will lead to the destruction of lives and further harm those seeking safety.

A group of people believed to be migrants are brought to Dover by the RNLI (Gareth Fuller/PA)

(PA wire)

“Climate justice advocates also oppose Priti Patel’s cruel plans that demonize people fleeing terrifying situations as they bear the brunt of multiple crises of war, poverty and climate catastrophe.

“These crises in the countries of the South are the direct result of centuries of exploitation by rich countries, such as the United Kingdom. We believe it is the responsibility of our government to ensure the safety of people facing these situations.

“We want Priti Patel to abandon Rwanda’s dangerous migration plan and provide support and safety to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously described the partnership between Rwanda and the UK as a “very, very sensible thing”, adding that it is a “good deal between two countries, each helping each other l ‘one another’.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The Global Migration Partnership will overhaul our broken asylum system, which is currently costing the UK taxpayer £1.5billion a year – the highest amount for two decades.

“This means that those who arrive dangerously, illegally or unnecessarily can be relocated to have their asylum claims considered and, if recognized as refugees, build their lives there.

“Our new migration and economic development partnership with Rwanda is fully in line with international and national law.

Brendan Clarke-Smith, the Conservative MP for Bassetlaw, said he was ‘sorry’ campaigners had to leave the event early because they ‘missed a great speech’ from Ms Patel.

Responding to the video on Twitter, he said: “I would like to thank everyone who contributed to our very successful fundraising efforts in Bassetlaw at the heart of the old Red Wall, including the significant sums we received of these guests from outside the region.

“I’m sorry they had to leave early because they missed a great talk from @pritipatel, great food and wonderful company.

“It will help us regain control of Bassetlaw District Council, ensure we re-elect a Tory MP and sack another Tory government that is committed to maintaining a tough but fair immigration system, as argued overwhelmingly my constituents.”

The council, which is Labour, was not part of Thursday’s local elections as its last election was in 2019.

Bassetlaw Conservators have been contacted for comment.