Rishi Sunak previously questioned controversial Rwanda asylum plan: BBC

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak previously expressed doubts on a controversial program to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda, the BBC reported on Saturday.

Sunak when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer attempted to convince then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson to scale back a migration scheme before a deal was signed with Rwanda in April 2022, the BBC said, citing documents seen by the media outlet.

The Conservative government led by Johnson in 2022 proposed a hardline plan to deport undocumented migrants to Rwanda in a bid to dissuade people from crossing the English Channel.

Sunak — who became prime minister in October 2022 — has made the immigration program a top priority, despite it being knocked down in the U.K. Supreme Court on human rights grounds.

But the BBC reported it has seen “No. 10 documents” dated March 2022 indicating that Sunak had been uncertain about the plan. Sunak “is refusing to fund any non-detained accommodation, eg Greek-style reception centers, because hotels are cheaper,” the BBC quoted the documents as saying.

Sunak also believed the “deterrent won’t work,” according to the report.

The prime minister’s office at the time said that Sunak should be told to “consider his popularity with the base” if he was reluctant to back migration reforms such as the Rwanda scheme, according to the report.