Tom Hunt, a Tory MP, made a significant slip-up on live TV on Tuesday (Photo: BBC)
Tory MP Tom Hunt appeared to forget where Rwanda is while he was defending the government’s controversial new plan to send asylum seekers there.
Appearing on the BBC’s Politics Live programme on Tuesday, Hunt described the plan as an “offshoring processing” strategy which would allow the asylum seekers to stay in Europe – even though Rwanda is in East Africa.
He told the panel: “I’ve often felt that offshore processing is the only way to truly tackle this issue.
“This is obviously offshore processing to stay in Rwanda, not here,” presenter Jo Coburn said.
He replied: “To stay in a safe European country, Rwanda.”
Amazingly, his mistake was missed by the rest of the panel, and he continued defending the policy.
“So I think it’s got every chance of being successful,” Hunt said. “I am a bit concerned about some of the fightback from the human rights lawyers, who will undoubtedly be propped up by Keir Starmer. That does concern me a bit.”
He added: “I think the majority of British people want this to be a success.”
This final comment came after the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby described the plans as “ungodly” while former prime minister Theresa May said she opposed the plans because there’s a lack of “legality, practicality and efficacy”.
Former Brexit secretary David Davis has condemned the proposals too, accusing the prime minister of “moral delinquency” in The Times.
Labour has been vocal about its opposition to the controversial strategy as well.
Sitting on the panel besides Hunt, Labour MP Sarah Jones replied: “Well, first of all, it’s not offshore processing, so you need to read your government’s policy before you comment on it, perhaps.”
Jones then speculated why this controversial policy had been made public now, claiming: “This is basically Priti Patel’s last chance to do something right. She’s utterly failed over the last two years.”
She said the home office is also in “chaos” and taking too long to make decisions, meaning it’s failing at the first hurdle of processing asylum seekers.
Conservative MP Tom Hunt says he's long felt "offshore processing is the only way to truly tackle" illegal Channel crossings
Labour MP Sarah Jones says the Home Office "is in chaos" and takes too long to make decisionshttps://t.co/4PKQql5LQ0#PoliticsLivepic.twitter.com/19heyHdOXE
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) April 19, 2022
The shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has also declared the strategy as an “unworkable, shameful and desperate attempt to distract from the prime minister’s law-breaking”, referring to Boris Johnson’s £50 fines over partygate.
Yvette Cooper savages Priti Patel's Rwanda policy.
This unworkable, shameful & desperate attempt to distract from the Prime Minister's law breaking... (1/2) pic.twitter.com/guzZd3Q9Xf
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) April 19, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.