UK: Sunak ‘out of touch’ for betting Rwanda deal

Rishi Sunak has been criticized as “out of touch” for engaging in a £1,000 bet with Piers Morgan regarding the deportation flights to Rwanda happening before the general election. Morgan proposed the bet on media, pledging the money to a refugee charity if the flights did not proceed. Sunak accepted the bet, expressing his dedication to making the flights happen despite the government’s previous setback in the supreme court, which deemed the policy unlawful. Opposition parties condemned Sunak’s decision to participate in the bet, citing it as evidence of his disconnection from the challenges faced by working people.

The shadow paymaster general, Jonathan Ashworth, remarked on Sunak’s seemingly casual approach to a substantial bet, stating that it highlights Sunak’s lack of understanding of the financial struggles people are facing. Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock described the bet as “deeply distasteful,” accusing Sunak of using money frivolously on a policy that has lost its legal standing. The Scottish National Party reported Sunak to the independent adviser on ministers’ interests, alleging a potential breach of the ministerial code.

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael suggested that Sunak should disclose the bet in his register of interests. The prime minister’s spokesperson defended Sunak, claiming that the flights would indeed proceed. Sunak faced additional criticism for his response to a question about Keir Starmer, where he insinuated the Labour leader’s association with terrorist sympathizers. Starmer’s office dismissed the accusation as “desperate nonsense” and highlighted Starmer’s record in overseeing prosecutions against al-Qaida members and other achievements during his tenure.

Sunak and other Tories had previously criticized Starmer for his legal involvement with Hizb ut-Tahrir in 2008. Starmer, part of a legal team that submitted an application to the European court of human rights, had not represented the organization in court. The appeal was rejected, and the group was later proscribed by the UK government for promoting terrorism. Sunak raised this issue during prime minister’s questions, leading to further debate on the matter.

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