LONDON: UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will attempt to expand Britain’s Rwanda migration scheme to include Turkey if she wins the Conservative Party leadership battle to become prime minister.
In a bid to build support from MPs, Truss said that she would approach Turkey — which houses almost four million migrants — to join the controversial scheme, The Times reported.
The Rwanda program enables the deportation of illegal migrants and asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing and resettlement. The scheme was launched to help combat a surge in migrant channel crossings from France.
Conservative MP Christopher Chope said that Truss had told him that she intended to seek similar deals with other countries, including Turkey and Spain. But the Truss campaign subsequently excluded the latter country from her plans.
Polling shows that reducing migrant crossings is the second most important issue for voters in so-called “red wall” seats — areas that the Conservative Party gained from the Labor Party in the UK’s last general election.
But in “blue wall” seats, the migration issue ranks low on the list of voter priorities.
Luke Tryl, director of More in Common, an “international initiative to counter social division,” said: “Our research shows that when it comes to immigration, simply proposing ever more punitive measures won’t hold the Tory coalition together.
“While the Rwanda plan might resonate with some parts of the Tory base, it is toxic to others.
“Instead, a policy that could reach across both blue and red walls needs to balance tough action against people smugglers, and a deterrent to small boats, with compassion and humane treatment for those fleeing persecution.”
The remaining candidates in the Conservative Party leadership race have all pledged to support the Rwanda scheme.