Home Secretary’s former aide calls Rwanda scheme ‘c--p’

James Sunderland is the former aide to James Cleverly and is running for re-election as MP for Bracknell
James Sunderland is the former aide to James Cleverly and is running for re-election as MP for Bracknell - DAVID WOOLFALL

A former aide to the Home Secretary who is standing as a Conservative candidate once branded the Government’s Rwanda policy “c--p”, according to reports.

James Sunderland, who is standing in the Bracknell ward he won in 2019, was recorded telling a private event: “The policy is c--p, OK? It’s c--p.”

According to the BBC, a video from a Young Conservatives event in April shows Mr Sunderland then defended the plan, saying it would deter migrants from attempting to cross the Channel.

Saying the “effect of the policy” was what mattered, he added: “There is no doubt at all… when those first flights take off that it will send such a shockwave across the Channel that the gangs will stop.”

The BBC said he also criticised colleagues for “courting controversy”, naming then MPs and current Conservative candidates Jonathan Gullis and Brendan Clarke Smith as those who “polarise opinion”, alongside Lee Anderson, the former Tory MP who switched to Reform in March.

Mr Sunderland, who worked as a parliamentary private secretary to James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, and Suella Braverman, told the BBC he was “disappointed” at being recorded at a private event.

He said: “I was talking about the response to the policy. The policy itself is not the be all and end all but part of a wider response.”

In response to the criticism of colleagues, he said he was answering a question about resignations from party posts by saying “unnecessary rhetoric and division in public life” was unnecessary.