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Boris Johnson says UK government ‘undeterred’ by criticism of Rwanda’s deportation policy

The British government would not be “deterred or disconcerted” by criticism and legal challenges to its plan to immigrate to Rwanda ahead of the first flight scheduled for Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

The flight to take the asylum seekers to Rwanda was due to depart on Tuesday, with the government warning that anyone avoiding it through last-minute legal challenges would be put on a later flight anyway.

Johnson said: ‘The goal is to ensure that we make this clear distinction which I think everyone can see as fair and reasonable, between legal immigration to this country through safe and legal channels, that we support, support and protect because we all understand the benefits it brings. And distinguishing that from the dangerous and illegal cross-Channel migration that we intend to stop.”

Britain has struck a 120 million pound ($148 million) deal with Rwanda to send migrants, who arrived illegally across the English Channel in small boats from Europe, to live in the landlocked African country.

The government says the deportation strategy is necessary to stem the flow of migrants risking their lives crossing the Channel and breaking up smuggling networks.

“What we see now is our policy, the economic and migration partnership with Rwanda, which we committed to, which is now under huge attack,” Johnson told a meeting of ministers in his cabinet on Tuesday.

The plan has horrified political opponents, charities and religious leaders who say it is inhumane. The UN refugee leader called it ‘catastrophic’ and the whole Church of England leadership denounced it as an ‘immoral policy which brings shame to Britain’.

“My message today is that we are not going to be discouraged or discouraged in any way by some of the criticism that has been leveled at this policy – ​​some of it from slightly unexpected quarters – we will carry on and deliver,” Johnson said to the ministers.

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UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “It is important that we follow this policy.”

She also discussed a potential legal battle with the EU over London’s plan to override some post-Brexit trade rules.

“I want this negotiated solution, but we need the EU to be ready to change the text,” Truss said Tuesday morning.

[with inputs from agencies]

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