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In a surprising move, United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that no deportation flights to Rwanda will take place before the upcoming July 4 snap election. The controversial Conservative Party scheme to send asylum seekers to Rwanda faces potential scuttling if the Labour Party wins the election, as they have promised to scrap the plan if they come into power. Sunak, who has championed the deportation plan despite legal challenges, emphasized the importance of the policy in the political race, highlighting that everything is in place for the flights to go ahead if he is re-elected.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has vowed to immediately scrap the deportation plan upon taking office, citing the high costs associated with it. However, in response to the rising numbers of asylum seekers crossing the Channel, Starmer has proposed a separate plan to establish a new border enforcement unit and use counter “terror” powers to combat people smuggling. Immigration is expected to be a prominent issue in the election campaigns, alongside the economy and the National Health Service’s record waiting times.

The decision to call a snap election earlier than expected came as a surprise to some members of Sunak’s party, with the Conservative Party trailing behind the Labour Party in opinion polls. Sunak’s announcement was met with skepticism by political observers, who see little reason for optimism in the current political climate. Starmer, positioning himself as a candidate for renewal and rebuilding, pointed to the disparities in cities like London and emphasized the need for change to provide opportunities for all individuals.

A potential Labour victory would make Starmer the sixth prime minister in the UK in eight years, reflecting a period of heightened political turmoil and instability. Sunak’s Rwanda deportation plan is not the only policy in doubt, as a bill to raise the minimum age for buying cigarettes for the younger generation may also be impacted by the upcoming election. Additionally, former Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage announced that he would not seek election for the Reform UK party, potentially diminishing the party’s appeal and impact on the Conservative Party’s voter base.

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