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Adil Ray said the policy was being used as a "racist slur" (Photo: Getty)
The government’s controversial plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is being used as a “vile” racist slur, MPs have warned.
Boris Johnson unveiled the scheme last week, prompting a furious backlash from politicians, charities and the Church of England.
But it has now emerged that some social media users are using the policy to abuse people of colour.
Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy shared a Tweet from someone who had commented on a photo of him on the Tube saying: “4.20 to Rwanda hopefully.”
Lammy said: “Bigotry courtesy of Boris Johnson and Priti Patel. You won’t faze me.”
Labour MPs lined up to express their support for their party colleague.
Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds commented: “Evil racism. Solidarity with my friend David Lammy.”
Afzal Khan, Labour MP for Manchester Gorton, said the government was “yet again emboldening the far right”.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper described it as “vile” and Jess Phillips commented: “This is dreadful.”
— Nick Thomas-Symonds MP (@NickTorfaen) April 21, 2022
Ian Byrne described it as “truly awful”, Barbara Keeley said it was “disgusting” and Imran Hussain said it was “absolutely horrific”.
Labour councillor Jas Athwal commented: “Fuelled by Boris Johnson and Priti Patel, racism rears its ugly head.
“Really thought we had left the 70s behind. We know what happens when racism goes unchecked.”
Meanwhile, Good Morning Britain presenter Adil Ray also spoke out, saying the policy was being used as a “racist slur” thrown at people of colour.
He tweeted: “I know I’m not alone here but over the past week ‘we should send you to Rwanda’ has become the latest racist slur thrown at POC.
“Our crime? Not being white and standing up for those worse off than us. These racists are radicalised by our ministers, they know the consequences.”
I know I’m not alone here but over the past week “we should send you to Rwanda” has become the latest racist slur thrown at POC. Our crime? Not being white and standing up for those worse off than us. These racists are radicalised by our ministers, they know the consequences.
— Adil Ray OBE (@adilray) April 22, 2022
It comes after it emerged that Home Office staff threatened to strike and drew comparisons to working for the Third Reich over the plan.
The department’s top civil servant had to reassure thousands of staff that they will not be breaking the law or guilty of racism if they enforce it.
Permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft told staff they had to implement ministers’ decisions and reminded them of the civil service’s neutral role, according to The Guardian.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the Rwanda plan “deals a major blow to people smugglers and their evil trade in human cargo”. (Photo: House of Commons - PA Images via Getty Images)
Former Tory PM Theresa May, who was seen as hardline on immigration, is also among those opposed to the plan.
But speaking in the Commons earlier this week, home secretary Priti Patel said the deal with Rwanda “deals a major blow to people smugglers and their evil trade in human cargo”.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Using racial slurs is disgusting. We expect social media companies to take such posts down swiftly and cooperate with the police where possible to hold those sending these unacceptable comments to account.
“Our world-leading migration partnership will overhaul our broken asylum system, which is currently costing the UK taxpayer £1.5bn a year – the highest amount in two decades.
“It means those arriving dangerously, illegally or unnecessarily can be relocated to have their asylum claims considered and, if recognised as refugees, build their lives there.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.