UK's new PM Keir Starmer kills Rwanda plan on first day, Telegraph reports

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer, leader of Britain's Labour party, speaks at a reception to celebrate his win in the election, at Tate Modern, in London, Britain, July 5, 2024. 

Photo credit: Reuters

Britain's newly elected Prime Minister Keir Starmer has killed off a deportation plan that would see migrants who arrived in the UK illegally sent to Rwanda on his first day on the job, the Telegraph reported on Friday, citing Labour sources, calling the plan "effectively dead."

Starmer had earlier promised to scrap the Conservative's policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, but with migration a key electoral issue, he will be under pressure himself to find a way to stop tens of thousands of people arriving across the Channel from France on small boats.

The British government's controversial plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda might have ended up costing more than 600 million pounds to deport 300 refugees, parliament's spending watchdog said.

Under the policy first announced in 2022, asylum seekers who arrive on England's southern coast in small, inflatable boats would be sent to Rwanda, but so far no one has been deported because of ongoing legal challenges.