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6 Feb, 2024 11:45

British PM condemned for $1,000 bet on deportation flights

Rishi Sunak told Piers Morgan that he’s willing to wager that the controversial plan will go ahead
British PM condemned for $1,000 bet on deportation flights

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under fire after betting £1,000 ($1,250) during a TV interview with Piers Morgan that the government would start deporting immigrants to Rwanda before the next election. 

Appearing on Talk TV on Monday, Sunak insisted that the government would succeed in its controversial plan to send illegal immigrants to the African country, despite the UK High Court ruling last year that the scheme was “unlawful.”  

“I’ll bet you £1,000 to a refugee charity you don’t get anybody on those planes before the election. Will you take that bet?” Morgan asked Sunak. 

In response, the prime minister shook hands with the TV host and said he was committed to the flights going ahead. The next UK general election is due to be held no later than January 28, 2025. 

Sunak immediately faced criticism from numerous lawmakers over his wager.  

“Not a lot of people facing rising mortgages, bills and food prices are casually dropping £1,000 bets. It just shows that Rishi Sunak is totally out of touch with working people,” Labour MP Jonathan Ashworth claimed. 

“The lives of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet reduced to a crude bet. It’s just a game to these people. Depraved,” Scottish National Party MP Stephen Flynn wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter).  

Sunak suffered a further setback last month to his flagship immigration policy when the House of Lords backed a motion urging parliament not to ratify a bill promoting Rwanda as a safe haven for refugees. 

In November, the UK Supreme Court ruled that an agreement to resettle illegal immigrants to Rwanda was unlawful.  

Britain has paid Rwanda at least £240 million ($305 million) under a controversial deal signed in April 2022, aimed at relocating migrants who arrive in Britain by boat to the East African country. No asylum seekers have so far been deported under the scheme.