LONDONJuly 24 – Both candidates to replace Boris Johnson as UK prime minister pledged on Sunday to make tackling illegal immigration a priority, and both backed the government’s policy of sending the undocumented to Rwanda.
Former Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are fighting to become Britain’s next prime minister, after a scandal-plagued uprising against the Johnson government forced the prime minister to say he would resign.
The two candidates have so far been at odds over tax cuts, at a time when Britain faces rising inflation, stagnant growth and a rising number of strikes.
On Saturday, Sunak said he was the underdog after Truss topped a poll among members of the Conservative Party, who will choose the next leader and British prime minister, the results of which will be known on September 5.
On Sunday, both candidates laid out their plans to continue the government’s policy of sending undocumented migrants to Rwanda, despite the first deportation flight being blocked last month by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Truss, who emerged as the favorite to win the leadership contest, said he would seek more “prosecution partnerships in third countries like Rwanda”, increase border enforcement by 20% and strengthen Britain’s Bill of Rights.
“As Prime Minister, I am committed to pursuing Rwanda policy, as well as exploring other countries where we can work in similar partnerships,” Truss said in a statement.
“I will make sure that we have the right level of strength and protection on our borders. I won’t cower in front of him ECHR and his continued efforts to try to control immigration policy.”
Sunak, who won the support of most Conservative lawmakers in the previous leadership election, said he would treat illegal immigration as “one of the top five emergency responses” he would tackle in his first 100 days as prime minister.
“I will adopt a very strict targets approach, with incentives for those who comply and sanctions for those who do not,” he wrote in The Sun newspaper.
“If a country doesn’t cooperate in returning undocumented immigrants, I won’t think twice about our relationship with them in terms of foreign aid, trade and visas.”
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