The Papers: Migrant plan ‘inhumane’ and Sussexes visit Queen

The Papers: Migrant plan ‘inhumane’ and Sussexes visit Queen

By BBC NewsStaffImage caption, The reaction to new government plans to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda to have their applications processed leads many of the papers. The Times says the government wants the first flights to take place within weeks and for tens of thousands of people to be moved in the next few years.…

By BBC News
Staff

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The reaction to new government plans to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda to have their applications processed leads many of the papers. The Times says the government wants the first flights to take place within weeks and for tens of thousands of people to be moved in the next few years. The paper also carries the news that the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, has sunk after apparently being hit by two Ukrainian anti-ship missiles.

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The government’s plans are called “nasty” and “inhumane” on the front page of the Mirror. The paper also quotes a former Home Office official saying they “may well be unworkable”.

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The government’s plan to send some asylum seekers to be processed in Rwanda has been branded “inhumane”, says the Guardian. The paper reports that the plan could lead to a short-term rise in people trying to cross the Channel and that it could be challenged in the courts.

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The government is braced for a legal challenge over the plans, says the i. It quotes the UN Refugee Agency warning that people “should not be traded like commodities and transferred abroad”.

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The Mail quotes the prime minister pledging to do “whatever it takes” to see the plans enacted and reports the scheme will be backdated to cover anyone who has arrived in the UK since the start of the year. The front page also carries news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have secretly flown to the UK to see the Queen at Windsor.

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Further government plans to hand responsibility for patrolling the Channel to the Royal Navy lead the Express. The paper says seven vessels, drones, and a helicopter will be deployed to intercept smugglers and quotes the prime minister saying the plans will ensure “no boat makes it to the UK undetected”.

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The Sun leads with the Sussexes’ visit to Windsor, saying the couple flew in on Wednesday, and notes that it is their first joint UK trip since quitting as senior royals in March 2020.

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A British man fighting in the Ukrainian army was “paraded on Russian television” on Wednesday night and appeared to have been severely beaten, the Telegraph reports. The paper says that Aiden Aslin, 28, believed to have been captured in Mariupol, was seen handcuffed with a gash on his forehead and a swollen eye.

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And the front page of the Star features what it calls a “get-out-of-jail-free rosette” for anyone who breached Covid lockdowns. The story reads: “Home Secretary Priti Patel – whose job is to uphold the law – says we should all forgive law-breakers if they’ve said sorry. Priceless.”

Many of Friday’s front pages focus on the prime minister’s plan to reform the asylum system. “Inhumane… And It Won’t Work” is the headline in The Mirror, which says the idea of moving desperate refugees to Rwanda is “dredged from the sewers of political muckraking”. The Times says the government wants the first flights to take place within weeks and for tens of thousands of people to be moved in the next few years.

The Guardian, which pictures a soldier helping migrants arriving at Dover on Thursday, reports that government insiders were hoping to announce the proposal months ago “to move attention away” from the original scandal about parties at Downing Street. It adds that by exploiting the “old divisions of the Brexit years”, the Conservatives hope to paint Labour as soft on immigration.

The i says there are “serious questions” about the legality of the scheme, which may undermine the UK’s commitments under international treaties. One immigration expert tells the paper that there are so many obstacles around safeguarding and legal aid that the project will be “too complex to get off the ground”.

But The Mail says Boris Johnson has vowed to take on “left-wing lawyers and naysayers” who it claims are “lining up to thwart” the plan. In its editorial, it says the proposal is “bold and imaginative” and that it “offers a sliver of deterrence to illegal migrants”, even if it should ultimately fail.

Several papers have details of the surprise visit the Duke and Duchess of Sussex paid the Queen and Prince Charles on Thursday. The Express says visitors to Windsor Castle were “taken aback” to see Harry and Meghan – who made the stop en route to the Netherlands, where they’re due to attend the Invictus Games for injured service personnel.

The Sun describes the meeting as “top secret” – with the aim of clearing the air after “a series of broadsides from across the Atlantic”. One royal commentator tells the paper it was an appropriate day to go – because Maundy Thursday is about forgiveness.

And The Telegraph gives its readers paws for thought – thanks to new research from Japan. Experts at Kyoto University wanted to find out if cats knew the names of other cats in their household as well as their own – and experimented by showing those familiar feline faces on a computer screen while a name was called out. The cats tended to stare at the picture longer if the name was wrong – suggesting they were confused and knew they didn’t match. The scientists think that cats probably also have some capacity to learn the name of their owners, although they don’t yet know how.

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