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Rwanda asylum plan: I will defend scheme to Prince Charles - PM Rwanda asylum plan: I will defend scheme to Prince Charles - PM
(32 minutes later)
Boris Johnson says he will explain the "obvious merits" of the UK's Rwanda asylum plan to the Prince of Wales if he raises the issue when they meet.Boris Johnson says he will explain the "obvious merits" of the UK's Rwanda asylum plan to the Prince of Wales if he raises the issue when they meet.
Prince Charles is reported to have called the policy "appalling", but the prime minister has called for critics to keep an "open mind".Prince Charles is reported to have called the policy "appalling", but the prime minister has called for critics to keep an "open mind".
The pair are both attending a summit in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on Friday.The pair are both attending a summit in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on Friday.
Under the plan people who arrive in the UK via small boats can be removed to the east African country.Under the plan people who arrive in the UK via small boats can be removed to the east African country.
Critics of the scheme have raised Rwanda's human rights record and include refugee organisations, politicians and the Church of England.Critics of the scheme have raised Rwanda's human rights record and include refugee organisations, politicians and the Church of England.
There have been several legal challenges in the UK against the policy, with the first flight due to take people to Africa prevented from taking off earlier this month.There have been several legal challenges in the UK against the policy, with the first flight due to take people to Africa prevented from taking off earlier this month.
Why are asylum seekers being sent to Rwanda?Why are asylum seekers being sent to Rwanda?
‘Being sent to Rwanda didn't stop us getting to Europe’‘Being sent to Rwanda didn't stop us getting to Europe’
Prince Charles meets Rwandan Genocide survivorsPrince Charles meets Rwandan Genocide survivors
Where does Rwanda flight setback leave ministers?Where does Rwanda flight setback leave ministers?
Mr Johnson, who is in Kigali to meet the heads of Commonwealth countries, said Rwanda had "undergone an absolute transformation" in the last couple of decades and had come on "leaps and bounds" in education and "taking society forward".Mr Johnson, who is in Kigali to meet the heads of Commonwealth countries, said Rwanda had "undergone an absolute transformation" in the last couple of decades and had come on "leaps and bounds" in education and "taking society forward".
"People need to keep an open mind about the policy, the critics need to keep an open mind about the policy," he said."People need to keep an open mind about the policy, the critics need to keep an open mind about the policy," he said.
He added "a lot of people can see its obvious merits" and said if he saw the prince he was "going to be making that point".He added "a lot of people can see its obvious merits" and said if he saw the prince he was "going to be making that point".
Boris Johnson is due to meet the Prince of Wales in KigaliBoris Johnson is due to meet the Prince of Wales in Kigali
It was reported in the Times, that Prince Charles had privately criticised the policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda as "appalling".It was reported in the Times, that Prince Charles had privately criticised the policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda as "appalling".
But the prime minister, who said he had discussed the matter with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, said the policy was "absolutely necessary and right to fix the problem of illegal cross-Channel trafficking of people".But the prime minister, who said he had discussed the matter with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, said the policy was "absolutely necessary and right to fix the problem of illegal cross-Channel trafficking of people".
A Clarence House spokesman said he would not be commenting on "supposed remarks made in private" except to say that "the prince is politically neutral" and that policy was a matter for the government.A Clarence House spokesman said he would not be commenting on "supposed remarks made in private" except to say that "the prince is politically neutral" and that policy was a matter for the government.
The pair are in the Rwandan capital Kigali for the the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).The pair are in the Rwandan capital Kigali for the the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).
Prince Charles, who is with his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, has met business leaders in Rwanda as part of the Commonwealth Business Forum.Prince Charles, who is with his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, has met business leaders in Rwanda as part of the Commonwealth Business Forum.
The Prince of Wales attends a Commonwealth Business Forum Exhibition at Kigali Cultural Exhibition Village, as part of his visit to RwandaThe Prince of Wales attends a Commonwealth Business Forum Exhibition at Kigali Cultural Exhibition Village, as part of his visit to Rwanda
Prince Charles' wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, has joined him on the tripPrince Charles' wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, has joined him on the trip
Boris Johnson is also joined by his wife Carrie in RwandaBoris Johnson is also joined by his wife Carrie in Rwanda
Under the Rwanda asylum plan, announced in April, the government intends to remove some asylum seekers who cross the Channel to the UK, sending them via a one-way ticket to Rwanda to claim asylum there instead.Under the Rwanda asylum plan, announced in April, the government intends to remove some asylum seekers who cross the Channel to the UK, sending them via a one-way ticket to Rwanda to claim asylum there instead.
It has been criticised with some pointing out that last year the UK had raised concerns about restrictions to civil and political rights in the country.It has been criticised with some pointing out that last year the UK had raised concerns about restrictions to civil and political rights in the country.
After the first flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda was cancelled, Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the scheme had "never been a serious policy" and described it as a "shambles" and "shameful".After the first flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda was cancelled, Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the scheme had "never been a serious policy" and described it as a "shambles" and "shameful".
When the policy was first announced, the Liberal Democrats accused the government of "slamming the door" in the face of refugees.
Boris Johnson held talks with Rwandan President Paul KagameBoris Johnson held talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame
During his visit to Rwanda, Mr Johnson will not be visiting any of the accommodation set aside for the scheme, with his spokesman saying his time was limited.During his visit to Rwanda, Mr Johnson will not be visiting any of the accommodation set aside for the scheme, with his spokesman saying his time was limited.
"We think that the best use of his time for this short period he's in Rwanda is to dedicate himself to some of the issues that will be raised at the summit and to work with other world leaders on some of those issues we've talked about, not least Ukraine and global security," he said."We think that the best use of his time for this short period he's in Rwanda is to dedicate himself to some of the issues that will be raised at the summit and to work with other world leaders on some of those issues we've talked about, not least Ukraine and global security," he said.
During a speech as part of the summit, Mr Johnson spoke of the UK's support for green energy projects in Africa, including the announcement of up to £162m investment, via British International Investment, in the hydropower sector.During a speech as part of the summit, Mr Johnson spoke of the UK's support for green energy projects in Africa, including the announcement of up to £162m investment, via British International Investment, in the hydropower sector.