"Clueless" Home Office Bosses Under Fire for Losing Track of Asylum Seekers
Embarrassed civil servant Sir Matthew Rycroft and his colleague Simon Ridley confessed that they have lost track of more than 17,000 migrants who have vanished without a trace, according to the Home Office. Members of Parliament criticized the officials during a challenging session in the House of Commons.
Whereabouts of 17,316 Asylum Seekers Unknown
During the grilling, Rycroft and Ridley were questioned about the 17,316 asylum seekers whose claims were withdrawn last year because they either failed to attend their interviews or stopped engaging. When asked about the whereabouts of these individuals, Ridley admitted, "In most cases, I don't know where those people are." This revelation left Tory MP Tim Loughton incredulous.
Most Asylum Seekers Not Detained, Allowing Them to Roam Freely
The majority of asylum seekers are not detained and are free to move around as long as they regularly check in with the Home Office. New powers to detain and remove illegal migrants have yet to be utilized due to complications surrounding the Rwanda plan and court restrictions.
Home Office Officials Criticized for Lack of Knowledge
When questioned about the number of small boat arrivals sent back in the past three years, Rycroft and Ridley were unable to provide an answer. This prompted criticism from MP Lee Anderson, who expressed astonishment at the officials' lack of knowledge about various issues. Labour's Home Affairs Committee chair Dame Diana Johnson also joined in, asking, "Do we have any figures about anything?"
Additional Payments to Rwanda for Removal Flights
Sir Matthew suggested that Britain is providing Rwanda with additional funds on top of the £140 million already paid. Although no removal flights have taken place yet, the Home Office permanent secretary confirmed that "there are additional payments each year," but the details will only be disclosed annually. This revelation was described as "astonishing" by Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.
Efforts Underway to Finalize Treaty with Kigali
Sir Matthew stated that officials are in the final stages of negotiating a new treaty with Kigali, which Chancellor Rishi Sunak hopes will lead to the resumption of removal flights.
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