Priti Patel: BBC guilty of ‘xenophobia’ over Rwanda refugee deal

Asked about the BBC’s coverage of the issue, Ms Patel said: “I was questioned by them last week, in Rwanda. They had a travelling delegation with us. And I was quite taken aback just by the tone of references to Rwanda.

“I’ve already referenced the type of undercurrent, without actually understanding the details, and not even recognising the resettlement work of Rwanda first and foremost, the track record, and how recent that has been and how the EU has funded that as well, just even some of the details.

“From my perspective, it’s a shame. However, there are always going to be critics, and we live in a free country, in a democracy – not everybody’s going to like the approach of a Conservative government or a Conservative Home Secretary.”

While in Rwanda, Ms Patel was asked by a senior BBC journalist whether she was “really sure about this idea” in light of a deal Israel struck with Rwanda a few years ago which saw “many of those people ending up in the hands of people traffickers, murdered, raped, tortured, and enslaved”. She replied: “The answer is yes.”

A BBC spokesman said: “The government’s agreement to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda led to considerable public debate. Journalists from the BBC and other media were there to report the story and ask questions about the plan.”

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