Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss vied with each other last night to be tougher on immigration policy in a bid to win over the right of the Tory party in the leadership race.
Sunak vowed in The Sunday Telegraph to introduce a cap on the amount of refugees the UK takes in every year that is decided by parliament, while promising to “inject a healthy dose of common sense” into the asylum debate.
The ex-chancellor, who is trailing Truss in polling of Tory members, also said he would withhold aid from countries that do not take back failed asylum seekers and criminals
Truss told the Mail on Sunday that she would sign more deals with overseas countries, similar to the recent agreement with Rwanda, to send Channel boat migrants to offshore detention centres.
Speaking about the Rwanda plan, she said: “I’m determined to see it through to full implementation, as well as exploring other countries that we can work on similar partnerships with. It’s the right thing to do.”
The two candidates to be next Prime Minister were criticised by human rights and charities groups for their rhetoric.
Oxfam’s Sam Nedel told The Independent that “this shows that the heat of campaigning leads to bad policy”.
“To meet a world in desperate crisis – facing climate change, famine and conflict – with cruel policies such as these would not live up to the role,” he said.
“We need more aid and safe and legal routes to the UK.”
Truss and Sunak began a six-week campaign to win the votes of 200,000 Tory grassroots members last Thursday.
The winner of the contest will be crowned on 5 September and will likely enter Number 10 the next day.
Truss leads by 20+ points in the latest YouGov polling of Tory members, however party polling is notoriously difficult to get correct.
The pair will face off in a series of hustings events and live TV debates in the coming weeks.