Supreme Court to rule on Rwanda migrant plan next week

Rishi Sunak will next week discover if he faces a showdown with European judges over the Government’s plans to deport migrants to Rwanda.

The Supreme Court will rule whether the £140 million scheme is legal on Wednesday.

A defeat for the Home Office will trigger fresh demands for the UK to leave the European Convention on Human Rights.

Many Conservative MPs have warned the European Court of Human Rights should not be allowed to thwart the Government’s plan to end the Channel migrant crisis and restore control to Britain’s borders.

But a victory for Home Secretary Suella Braverman could lead to the first migrants being sent to Kigali early next year.

The first flight last June was grounded after an 11th hour pyjama injunction issued `by the European Court of Human Right.

The flagship scheme to end the Channel migrant crisis has been locked in legal battles ever since.

Mrs Braverman suffered a shock blow in June when the Court of Appeal ruled against the Home Office amid fears migrants could be sent from Rwanda to their home countries.

This would leave them at risk of torture, judges ruled.

But Sir James Eadie KC, for the Home Office, told the Supreme Court assurances from Rwanda were sufficient to prevent any real risk” of ill treatment or refoulement to unsafe countries.

Sir James also said the initial number of migrants sent to Kigali would be limited – while the Rwandan Government increase capacity.

He added: “Whatever debate there may have been about Rwanda’s conduct in the past, we submit it is at best peripherally relevant,” he added.

Sir James accepted the policy would see migrants removed to a “country less attractive” than the UK but it was “nevertheless safe” and therefore a lawful scheme.

“There is a serious and pressing need to take effective steps that will act as a deterrent to those undertaking the perilous and sometimes life-threatening journey, typically across the Channel from a safe country, normally France,” he said. “There is, we submit, a strong public interest in that legitimate, indeed key, policy aim.”

Lucy Moreton, of the ISU, the union for borders, immigrations and customs, has claimed the Home Office wants “two flights a day leaving for Rwanda” if the Government wins the Supreme Court showdown.

She said: “All enforcement officials’ Christmas leave has been cancelled and they’ve all been recalled on the assumption that, if the Rwanda decision goes for the Government, then they want two flights a day leaving for Rwanda.”

Tory MPs want the Prime Minister to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with Strasbourg.

But they have warned the UK should be willing to quit if the European Commission does not concede ground.

Brexiteers have welcomed Germany following the UK by exploring a Rwanda-style migrant deal.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has pledged to look at whether asylum claims could be processed abroad in non-EU countries.

Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson said: “It looks like the rest of Europe has woken up to the illegal migration crisis and is looking to the UK for ways to stop the evil trade in people.

“The Rwanda scheme will prove to be a great deterrent which is why other countries may well get on board. We just need the Labour Party to support the scheme now and help us get the planes off the ground.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also welcomed Germany weighing up a Rwanda-style agreement.

His official spokesman said: “It’s a continuation of what we have seen, a number of European countries recognising that the challenge of migration is a global one, particularly one that faces the European continent.”

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