If the Rwanda deal doesn’t work, is Boris toast? - asks Patrick Christys

I think the Rwanda deal is supposed to be Boris' saving grace, but I’m starting to have serious reservations about how effective it will be

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If the Rwanda deal proves to be an absolute dud, would that be the final straw for you when it comes to Boris?

I’ll make absolutely no excuses whatsoever for sticking by this guy thus far – it’s not about party loyalty. I have never been and never will be a member of any political party, I don’t think that’s appropriate given my line of work, also I usually think they’re all a bit useless.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel shakes hands with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Birutaare after signing the partnership agreement at a joint news conference in Kigali, Rwanda.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel shakes hands with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Birutaare after signing the partnership agreement at a joint news conference in Kigali, Rwanda.

Partygate doesn’t really bother me – if eating cake during lockdown is a crime then I’d be serving 25 years to life by now. Part of me also thinks that anyone who religiously obeyed lockdown rules after it had become acutely aware that there was no justification for Chris Whitty’s national hostage situation is an absolute mug.

But regardless of whether or not you care about partygate, the fact is that part of the skill of being a Prime Minister is that you don’t allow yourself to become embroiled in petty scandals, and nobody can deny that Boris Johnson has allowed that to happen. Whether or not you think Boris did anything wrong, it’s undeniable that he’s allowed himself to be caught up in this situation and that’s not good.

I think the Rwanda deal is supposed to be his saving grace, his get out of jail free card. But I’m starting to have serious reservations about how effective it will be.

I was very happy to learn that there had been no Channel crossings over the weekend, but apparently that may have had more to do with the wind direction than the prospect of being deported to Africa.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel looks on as Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta, addresses a joint news conference, after signing the partnership agreement in Kigali, Rwanda.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel looks on as Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta, addresses a joint news conference, after signing the partnership agreement in Kigali, Rwanda.

And it turns out that apparently as few as 200 Channel crossers could actually be sent to Rwanda. Just two percent of people who arrive in the UK every year are deemed "inadmissible" to the asylum system, the criteria that will be used to determine who can be sent to east Africa.

Also, there are serious questions about Rwanda’s capacity to take loads of people – it remains unclear as to whether or not they have the infrastructure.

Our government has already told local councils that they’ll be using some of the private rental stock in their area, which implies that they don’t see the numbers decreasing too much.

Look, something needed to be done about illegal immigration into the UK – something has needed to be done for a very long time. But this whole Rwanda deal falls flat on its face if people crossing the Channel realise that this deterrent is just a deterrent in name only. If they realise that there’s very little chance of actually getting deported to Rwanda, then the game’s up, and we’ll have another record year of arrivals.

I want this idea to work, and I’m keeping an open mind about it, I hope that this is the solution and that we see an end to illegal channel crossings from economic migrants masquerading as refugees.

But I want to hear from you – if it doesn’t work, is Boris toast? If it doesn’t work, would you vote for Boris again?