Justin Welby branded 'the left-wing bishop' by Nigel Farage: 'It’s all about the big virtue signal'

Justin Welby described the Rwanda migrant plans as ungodly in his Easter sermon on Sunday

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Nigel Farage has slammed “left-wing bishop” Justin Welby after he criticised the government's plans to outsource migrants to Rwanda in his Easter sermon at Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday.

The Archbishop of Canterbury used his address to describe the asylum policy as ungodly, adding: “sub-contracting out our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well, like Rwanda, is the opposite of the nature of God who himself took responsibility for our failures”.

GB News presenter Nigel described the Archbishop's statement as a "big virtue signal".

The former Brexit Party Leader said: "He didn’t mention anything about the criminal traffickers, he didn’t mention anything about the drownings in the Channel, he didn’t mention anything about those who come to this country and finish up effectively working in slave labour conditions."

He added: "It is true form as a left-wing archbishop who has done more to damage the reputation of the Church of England, to decrease the numbers turning up every Sunday than almost anybody who has ever lived."

GB News presenter Nigel Farage
GB News presenter Nigel Farage

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Refugee and Asylum Rights Director at Amnesty International UK told Nigel he welcomed the Archbishop’s involvement.

He said: “I am not in a position to question whether the government is being ungodly”

"But in terms of the ethics of this and the impact of this and the responsibility of this, I completely agree with what he has said."

This comes as an exchange of letters published by the Home Office on Saturday night showed the department’s Permanent Secretary Matthew Rycroft warned Home Secretary Priti Patel that although the policy was “regular, proper and feasible”, there was “uncertainty surrounding the value for money of the proposal”.

But issuing a rare ministerial direction compelling the plans to go ahead despite the concern, Ms Patel said that “without action, costs will continue to rise, lives will continue to be lost”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby leads the Easter Sung Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby leads the Easter Sung Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent

Under the plans, which the Government said will curb migrant crossings of the English Channel in small boats, people who are deemed to have entered Britain by unlawful means since January 1 may be sent to Rwanda, where they will be permitted to apply for asylum in the African country.

But Mr Welby said there are “serious ethical questions about sending asylum seekers overseas”.

He said: “The details are for politics. The principle must stand the judgment of God, and it cannot. It cannot carry the weight of resurrection justice, of life conquering death. It cannot carry the weight of the resurrection that was first to the least valued, for it privileges the rich and strong.”

He was joined in his criticism by the Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell, who used his Easter Sunday sermon at York Minster to describe the policy as “depressing and distressing”.

He said: “We can do better than this. We can do better than this because of what we see in Jesus Christ, the risen Christ, with a vision for our humanity where barriers are broken down, not new obstacles put in the path.

“After all, there is in law no such thing as an illegal asylum seeker. It is the people who exploit them that we need to crack down on, not our sisters and brothers in their need. We don’t need to build more barriers and cower in the darkness of the shadows they create

“Do we want to continue to be known as a country that opens proper, legitimate pathways for all who flee violence, conflict and oppression, not just those from Ukraine, but also those fleeing other conflicts and the effect of climate change?”