Justin Welby has said that it is his “duty” to criticise Rishi Sunak’s government for its policy of prohibiting boats from making the risky 21-mile crossing across the Channel.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has again slammed the Prime Minister’s Rwanda plan, warning bishops that they “will not abandon” their objections.
Welby claimed he presented two “helpful, not destructive” changes to the Illegal Migration Bill as it enters the House of Lords committee stage.
The 67-year-old also criticised his detractors, claiming they were not acting in “good faith.”
Members of the upper chamber will debate the proposed amendments but will not vote on them until the report stage.
The report stage of the House of Lords is scheduled in early July, and the Government may battle with hundreds of peers.
Welby, who claimed that “constructive alternatives” had been proposed, wrote in The Times, “They face indefinite detention in grim conditions, at constant risk of severe destitution, and now face the prospect of being sent to Rwanda.”
Despite this, Channel crossings are expected to be at an all-time high this year.
He added: “Anyone who suggests those opposing this policy are indifferent to the challenges we face, or in favour of open-door immigration, or on the side of people smugglers, or even content to see desperate people drown, is not engaging with this debate in good faith.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, who took up his post at Lambeth Palace in 2013, advised that the government increase efforts to clear the existing backlog of asylum requests, provide alternative safe routes, and examine the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Sunak and Braverman have committed to put an end to the Channel crossing crisis, with halting the boats emerging as one of Prime Minister Theresa May’s top five objectives in Number 10.
The Government’s plan to stop the boats involves holding and removing individuals who have entered the country illegally, either through Rwanda or another “safe” third nation.
In 2022, 45,755 migrants crossed the English Channel in tiny boats, with 15,925 from Albania.
In 2023, the number of those who have started the voyage has already reached 7,297.