Church of England is not a ‘passive observer of migration policy’

The Archbishop, who is the head of the Church of England, also reiterated his view that “there are serious ethical questions about using ‘deterrence’ to stop asylum seekers trying to reach our shores”.

“Like many, I oppose sending vulnerable and traumatized people more than 4,000 miles away without their consent, and paying another country to take them in,” he said, adding: “For years, the hostile environment has not reduced the numbers of people seeking asylum here.

“This approach does not lead to better or fairer outcomes for anyone. We can and must do better.”

The Archbishop used his Easter sermon to criticize Downing Street after the Government announced that refugees who reach the UK by illicit means will be given a one-way ticket to east Africa.

He said the policy was the “opposite of the nature of God”, and raised “serious ethical questions”.

The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York, also waded into the debate, saying he is “appalled” at the plans, as he launched a full-scale attack on government policy.

The intervention of the Archbishops prompted Ben Bradley, the Conservative MP for Mansfield, to say last week: “I think we separated the church from the state a long time ago, so as I’ve said before, commenting on government policy is not Justin Welby’s job.”

Earlier this month, Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, signed a memorandum with Rwanda agreeing to send refugees who arrive in the UK illegally to east Africa.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Ms Patel also appeared to accuse the Archbishop of failing to “understand” the policy.

The Home Office has repeatedly defended the plan, saying the UK has a “proud history” of supporting those in need and resettlement programs have provided “safe and legal routes to better futures” for hundreds of thousands of people.

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