Rishi Sunak vows to end legal ‘merry-go-round’ and deliver Rwanda migration plan

Rishi Sunak vowed to defy foreign judges and push ahead with deportations to Rwanda.

He announced emergency laws designating it a safe country after Britain’s Supreme Court ruled the plans to remove illegal migrants unlawful.

But he also issued a warning to European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg that he will do “what is necessary” to make the plan a reality if it throws more obstacles in the way later on.

The Prime Minister said he still hopes the first flights will take off in the spring despite ­yesterday’s setback.

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He announced the emergency legislation to stop the “merry-go-round” of domestic legal challenges.

The PM said: “We must be ­honest about the fact that even once Parliament has changed the law here at home, we could still face challenges from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

“I told Parliament earlier today that I’m prepared to change our laws and revisit those international relationships to remove the ­obstacles in our way. So let me tell everybody now, I will not allow a foreign court to block these flights. If the Strasbourg court chooses to intervene against the expressed wishes of Parliament, I am prepared to do what is necessary to get flights off. I will not take the easy way out.

“Because I fundamentally do not believe that anyone thinks the founding aim of the European Convention on Human Rights was to stop a sovereign Parliament removing illegal migrants to a country deemed to be safe in parliamentary statute and binding international law.”

Mr Sunak said if Parliament declares “unequivocally” that Rwanda is safe, it should see off any further “domestic barriers”.

But he refused to guarantee that any illegal migrant would have actually been sent to the east African nation by the next election.

Tory right-wingers were incensed at the latest legal setback to a ­policy that has the backing of the Commons.

Deputy party chairman Lee Anderson said it was time to ignore the rulings and start the ­deportation flights regardless.

Mr Sunak said he “absolutely” shared the “frustrations that my colleagues and, indeed, people across the country” have about
this issue.

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He added: “Everyone should understand the strength of feeling.”

But the PM’s plan did little to reassure former home secretary Suella Braverman.

An ally said: “This is a treaty which he’s putting in legislation. It’s just another version of Plan A.

“He’ll be stuck in the courts again. More magic tricks from Rishi’s magical thinking.”

In a post on X, Mrs Braverman said: “Given the current state of the law, there is no reason to criticise the judges. Instead, the Government must introduce emergency legislation.”

Sources have suggested Mr Sunak’s pledge not to allow Strasbourg to block deportation flights to Rwanda is based on measures in the Illegal Migration Act that state the Government can ignore the European court’s Section 39 orders.

Asylum seekers sent to Rwanda will be given a “legal status” to stay in the country, even if they are refused refugee status.

Ministers hope the new deal will end the cycle of legal ­challenges against the flagship migration policy.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled against the Government on the basis migrants could face torture or imprisonment if Rwanda were to deport them to their home countries, which would be a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Judges also highlighted concerns about Rwanda’s asylum process, a “100 per cent” rejection rate of asylum claims and the “Rwandan government’s apparent misunderstanding of its obligations under the Refugee Convention”.

The Supreme Court heard migrants have been sent to neighbouring countries since former home secretary Priti Patel brokered a deal with the Rwandan government. Officials last night conceded more taxpayers’ money could be given to Rwanda as part of “negotiations” with Kigali.

None of the £140million the UK has already paid to Rwanda can be clawed back.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said the Rwanda deal would be increased to a legally binding treaty “as soon as possible”.

He said: “Rwanda is ready to receive thousands of people, process their claims, give them excellent care and then support them to integrate in Rwanda.”

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