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Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS/files
rishi sunak rwanda.JPG
Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS/files
UK News

Christian MP Tim Farron weighs in on PM’s ‘insensitive, unwise’ bet with Piers Morgan

by Tola Mbakwe

Christian MP Tim Farron has said it was “naïve” of the Prime Minister to shake hands on a bet with Piers Morgan.

On Monday, the TalkTV presenter offered the Prime Minister a £1,000 bet that the government would not be able to send asylum seekers to Rwanda before the next general election.

Mr Sunak then shook hands with Morgan, appearing to agree to the bet.

The Prime Minister has faced criticism from opposition parties, who said the wager with the broadcaster was distasteful and showed he was out of touch with the concerns of ordinary voters.

Farron, Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said in Premier’s A Mucky Business podcast that it was a very insensitive move.

“I almost feel a bit sorry for the Prime Minister because, you know, Piers Morgan asked him the question, it was almost hard for him to wriggle out of it one way or another.

“But I think first of all, removing desperate people to a far off country that we're not sure is safe and having a bet that you will manage it seems a bit vulgar, seems insensitive.

 “I think that one's got £1000 to give away, also feels a bit insensitive, particularly in a time where there's a cost of living crisis.

“I think it does show a little bit of naivety on the part of the Prime Minister. You know, you're up against Piers Morgan, he's going to throw you these googlies you know, just smile and dodge them. Don't fall into the trap.”

However, Farron acknowledged that answering a question wisely is “easier said than done”.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party said the bet showed he did not understand the challenges faced by voters facing rising mortgages and food bills, while the Scottish National Party reported  the PM over a potential breach of the ministerial code

Mr Sunak admitted that he should have handled the situation differently.

He told the BBC:  "I am not a betting person, and I was taken totally by surprise in that interview”.

He added: "The point I was trying to get across – I was taken totally by surprise – was actually about the Rwanda policy and about tackling illegal migration, which is something I care deeply about."

The government is currently trying to pass legislation through parliament that would declare Rwanda a safe country for asylum seekers in an effort to overcome the legal block by the courts.

(Additional reporting from Reuters)

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