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Sunak admits Rwanda flights will not take off before election and denies vote has been called due to expected rise in inflation | Politics News

The Prime Minister called a general election for July 4, which came as a surprise to many MPs.

By Alix Culbertson, political reporter @alixculbertson


Thursday 23 May 2024 10:24, United Kingdom

Rishi Sunak has admitted flights from Rwanda will not take off before the general election, and denied calling a summer vote because inflation is expected to rise.

The prime minister has said in recent months that the first flights taking asylum seekers to the African nation will take place in July.

But after call general elections For July 4, it has been questioned whether the flights will take off or not.

“The first flights will begin in July,” he told the BBC.

He then added: “If I am re-elected prime minister on July 5, these flights will disappear and we will put our plan for Rwanda into action.”

Asked about flight times, Sunak told LBC: “No, after the election. Preparation work has already started.”

Follow live updates after the general election call

With Labor holding a 20-point lead in the polls, the Tories’ flagship illegal immigration plan may literally never get off the ground.

‘There will be no flights’

Earlier this month, Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News: “There will be no flights. I want to scrap the plan so that means the flights won’t work.

“There will be no flights scheduled or taking off after the general election, if Labor wins that general election.”

Sunak launches election campaign

Many were surprised when the Prime Minister called a summer election on Monday, with some MPs wondering if this was because inflation is expected to rise again and there could also be a rise in small boat arrivals over the summer.

“No, that’s not the real reason,” Sunak told the BBC.

“And when it comes to the economy, of course, I know there is more work to do. I know people are just beginning to feel the benefits of the changes we have brought.

“And for some people, when they look at their bank balance at the end of each month, it will still be difficult, but it is undeniable that we have made progress and stability has returned.”

Inflation fell to 2.3% – the lowest rate in almost three years – hours before Sunak announced the election.

Read more:

Why Sunak may have decided to call an election now
A six-week race for the keys to number 10



Image:
Sir Keir Starmer has said flights to Rwanda will not take off if Labor wins. Photo: PA

Both Starmer and Sir Keir began their election campaigns on Thursday morning, just hours after the Prime Minister announced the date on which people will go to the polls the night before.

Electoral campaigns underway

The Prime Minister is embarking on a two-day tour of the four nations of the United Kingdom, while Sir Keir headed to the south-east of England to confront the traditional Tory battlegrounds there.

UK Reform leader Richard Tice was preparing for a press conference, where party co-founder Nigel Farage could announce a return to frontline politics.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey is expected to visit a target seat to launch his campaign, which is expected to focus on Conservative-held seats.

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In parliament, there is only today and Friday left for important legislation to be passed quickly in the House of Commons before parliament is prorogued (at the end of the session) on Friday.

The Victims and Prisoners Bill will be a major piece of legislation as it includes measures to establish a compensation scheme for victims of the infected blood scandal announced this week.