The Church of England is not a ‘passive observer of migration policy’

The Archbishop, who is the head of the Church of England, also reiterated his view that “there are serious ethical questions about the use of ‘deterrence’ to prevent asylum seekers from trying to reach our shores”.

“Like many, I object to sending vulnerable and traumatized people over 4,000 miles away without their consent, and paying another country to take them in,” he said, adding: “For years, the hostile environment has not reduced the number of people seeking asylum here.

“This approach does not lead to better or fairer outcomes for anyone. We can and must do better.”

The Archbishop used his Easter sermon to slam Downing Street after the government announced that refugees who reach the UK through illicit means will receive a one-way ticket to East Africa.

He said the policy was “the opposite of God’s nature” and raised “serious ethical questions”.

The Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, also jumped into the debate, saying he was “appalled” by the plans, as he launched a full-scale attack on government policy.

The archbishops’ intervention prompted Ben Bradley, the Conservative MP for Mansfield, to say last week: “I think we separated church from state a long time ago, so as I said before, commenting on government policy is not Justin Welby’s job.

Earlier this month, Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, signed a memorandum with Rwanda agreeing to send refugees who arrive illegally in the UK to East Africa.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Ms Patel also appeared to accuse the Archbishop of not “understanding” politics.

The Home Office has repeatedly defended the plan, saying the UK has a “proud history” of supporting those in need and that resettlement schemes have provided “safe and legal pathways to a future better” to hundreds of thousands of people.

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