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Johnson accused of ‘shameful’ attack on Welby over criticism of Rwandan politics

Boris Johnson’s attack on the Archbishop of Canterbury for his criticism of Rwanda’s asylum policy is a “shameful insult”, a senior Church of England official has said.

The Prime Minister has accused Justin Welby of having “misinterpreted” the policy of sending some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Boris Johnson (Matt Dunham/PA)

Mr Johnson’s criticism came in a private address to Tory MPs in Parliament after he was forced to repeatedly apologize for the fine he received from police for breaking coronavirus laws.

Church of England chief information officer John Bingham said if the reports of Mr Johnson’s behind-closed-doors comment were true it was a ‘disgraceful insult’.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, had publicly condemned Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as an “act of great evil”.

But Mr Johnson appeared angry at Mr Welby’s criticism of the plan to send asylum seekers arriving in the UK one way to Rwanda.

The Archbishop raised “serious ethical questions” about the policy in his Easter Sunday speech and said she could not “bear the judgment of God”.

In the sermon, the Archbishop said that “outsourcing our responsibilities, even to a country that seeks to do well, like Rwanda, is against the nature of God who himself has taken responsibility for our failures.

The Prime Minister then reportedly added that clerics were ‘less vocal’ in their Easter Sunday condemnation of Mr Putin than they were on migration policy.

Mr Welby did not mention Mr Putin by name, but he called for “a Russian ceasefire, withdrawal and commitment to talks”.

And he repeatedly criticized the invasion and discussed the plight of the Ukrainian people living and fleeing war.