The government’s plans to deport illegal immigrants to Rwanda, which has become one of Home Secretary Priti Patel’s flagship policies, is rapidly descending into a chaotic mess, with legal proceedings piling up by the hour.
Media around the world are branding the policy ‘racist’, ‘neo-colonial’ and ‘absurd’. Media across Africa and Asia are particularly critical, claiming “Britain has lost it.” The issue is headline news is dozens of countries around the world this a.m.
While the government is keen to fly out the first asylum seekers as earlier as today, a leading human rights lawyer warned this morning that the Government should wait until a judicial review is heard before attempting another deportation flight to Rwanda.
Frances Swaine, who represents a man due to be flown to Rwanda, told BBC Breakfast that the Government should consider whether it is worth it “financially or legally” to attempt another flight.
“The European Court of Human Rights has recommended that there are no other flights proposals put together until the substantial judicial review hearing into the whole policy is heard”, she said. “We’re expecting that that would take place in about six weeks time during July although we don’t have a firm date for it yet.
“And I think if I was the Government, which obviously I’m not, but if I was, I would be sitting back and thinking was it worth it, either from a financial or a legal perspective, to organise one of these very expensive flights again when they’ve been so unsuccessful this time around on legal grounds.
“Because there will be a decision in July as to whether or not this policy can be extant, or whether there would need to be some changes to the law if the Government was absolutely determined to see it through.
“Wait until we have the decision first and then decide whether to go ahead.”told BBC Breakfast that the Government should consider whether it is worth it
However, a government minister said a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which led to the cancellation of the first deportation flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda is only a “temporary setback.”
Work and Pensions Minister Guy Opperman said he did not believe the ruling was “terminal” to the Government’s case.
“As I understand the decision last night, this is a temporary stay of the flight and the people going on the flight for there to be greater consideration of the individual circumstances of the situation by the UK courts,” he told LBC.
“It is not ‘You cannot do this’. It is a temporary stay that will then be considered by the UK courts on an ongoing basis. I don’t believe that it is terminal judgment to the Government’s cause.”
David Lammy, shadow secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, has accused the Home Secretary of creating a “mess” with an “unworkable” policy of deporting migrants to Rwanda.
He told Sky News: “Look, this is a mess that Priti Patel created, she was told that the system was unworkable, unethical, and would cost an extraordinary amount of money.
“It was very unlikely that she would be able to get a system up and running as quickly as possible given that the Israelis tried and didn’t succeed, the Australians tried and didn’t succeed. So she was warned about this. And of course, we’re now in this situation.”