His comments echo those made by other religious leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, who have also used their Easter sermons to express their disapproval of the plans.
Additionally, former child refugee and Labour peer Alf Dubs said ministers would face opposition in the Lords over the plan, which saw UK Home Secretary Priti Patel sign her agreement with Rwanda last week, under which the east African nation would receive asylum-seekers deemed by the UK to have arrived “illegally” and therefore inadmissible under new immigration rules.
The Very Rev Holdsworth in his sermon said regarding the proposal: “[This is] a betrayal of this country’s international commitments. A betrayal of those in desperate need. Not one passion story but thousands of stories of people betrayed by those who should offer friendship, fairness, and common decency.
“The government’s proposal to export the neediest and the most desperate to a land far away for ‘processing’ is immoral, shameless and obscene. I say to the government today – ‘you can’t outsource compassion. We are better than this.’”
Speaking before the service, he said it was “difficult to express the outrage that so many religious people feel over the proposal”.