Priti Patel's Rwanda plan 'immoral, shameless and obscene', says Glasgow cathedral provost

The UK government’s plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda has been branded “immoral, shameless and obscene” by the Provost of St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow during his Easter Sunday sermon.

The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth yesterday told parishioners how he sees the idea of sending those seeking refuge in this country on a one-way ticket to Rwanda as a “bitter betrayal”.

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.

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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”.

'The suggestion that we should send those seeking refuge in this country on a one-way ticket to Rwanda is an bitter betrayal,' says the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth (file image). Picture: John Devlin.

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British Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Vincent Biruta sign the relevant agreement last week. Picture: Simon Wohlfahrt/AFP via Getty Images.
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