“[the people sent to Rwanda] are going to be essentially those that are suspected strongly of being there for economic reasons where they’ll be processed. If they’re wrong, they’ll come back to the UK.”

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, LBC Radio

June 18, 2022

Facts

Sir Iain Duncan Smith claimed those sent to Rwanda who had their applications for asylum accepted would be returned to the UK. This contradicts the government’s fact sheet, which asserts ‘if successful in being granted refugee status, people will be given full rights in Rwanda’. Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights further claimed that ‘claimants would not be allowed to return to the UK, and would receive asylum support in Rwanda’.

Return is possible, but only in exceptional circumstances. It is facilitated by Chapter 11 of the Memorandum of Understanding, which states that on the basis of ‘a request made by the United Kingdom… should the United Kingdom be legally obliged to facilitate that person’s return’. This would not apply to the vast majority of individuals.

We draw heavily on this excellent analysis by Full Fact.

Verdict

Sir Iain Duncan Smith may have misunderstood government policy. He was misleading LBC listeners. Those who receive refugee status would receive it in Rwanda, and not in the UK. They would not be returned to the UK if successful in their application, unless in exceptional circumstances.

We approached Sir Iain Duncan Smith's office to give him a chance to comment, but received no response.

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