Rishi Sunak defends Rwanda plan during GB News Q&A session


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PM tells live audience deportation scheme is necessary deterrent and says he is working for long-term change

Rishi Sunak has said he is “absolutely committed” to his Rwanda policy during a one-hour Q&A session on GB News in which he insisted he understands the country’s frustrations after 14 years of Conservative-led government.

The prime minister told voters that the Rwanda deportations scheme was necessary as a “deterrent” to channel crossings.

Sunak was asked by a voter at the GB News People’s Forum why he was “so adamant” about sticking to the Rwanda policy “when public documentation shows it isn’t working and that it’s not going to work”.

Sunak said: “In order to fully solve this problem, we need a deterrent. We need to be able to say pretty simply and unequivocally that if you come to our country illegally, you won’t get to stay.

“We want to be able to remove you either to your home country if it’s safe, like we’ve done with Albania, and for everyone else we need an alternative and that’s what Rwanda is about.

“I’m absolutely committed to getting this bill through parliament and getting this scheme up and running.”

He challenged Labour and the House of Lords to back the bill, saying: “We are committed to getting it through parliament, but unfortunately, we don’t have a majority in the House of Lords.

“Everyone else right now as we speak is lining up to do deals in the House of Lords to block us … We’ve already seen that in the Commons.”

Asked by one voter why traditional Conservative supporters should back Sunak and not the Nigel Farage-linked Reform UK, Sunak said he appreciated people’s “frustration”.

“I think fundamentally, what you want and what I want are the same,” he said. “The next election is a straightforward choice. At the end of it, either Keir Starmer or I am going to be prime minister and a vote for anyone who is not a Conservative candidate is simply a vote to put Keir Starmer into No 10.”

But in a sign he is thinking about his next career after Downing Street, Sunak suggested he “won’t be around” in politics in 14 years’ time.

Speaking about his record on the NHS, the prime minister said: “I probably will not be around in the 14 years that it takes to train the consultant that we’re now starting to invest in, but it’s the right long-term thing to do for our country, which is why I’ve done it.”

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He appealed to undecided voters to support him to help see through his policies.

“There’s more to do and that’s what the election this year is about. That’s the choice,” he said. “Do we stick with this plan? Our plan that is starting to deliver the change that you will want and the country deserves. Or do we go back to square one with Keir Starmer and the Labour party?”

“Now we’ve just seen in the last week, with absolute chaos over the £28bn decarbonisation policy, that Labour simply don’t have a plan – and if you don’t have a plan, you can’t deliver any change.”

Sunak also accused Starmer of attacking him over his privileged background and private schooling, and said that was “not British”.

“I get attacked by Keir Starmer because of where I went to school,” he said. “You’re not really attacking me, you’re attacking my parents, and you’re attacking everybody like them that works hard to aspire for a better life for them and their family. I think that’s wrong. I don’t think it’s British. And that’s not the type of country that I’m going to build.”