There has been outrage in Britain after a judge dramatically blocked his plan in one last breather.
Furious Conservatives called on the British government to abandon a European human rights pact after a judge drastically blocked its plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
The latest intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) forced the government to suspend the maiden flight, after the number of claimants on board had already been reduced due to legal challenges in the UK.
Under the UK’s agreement with Rwanda, all migrants who arrive illegally in Britain can be sent to the East African nation thousands of miles away for processing and settlement.
The government, after claiming Brexit would lead to tighter borders, says the plan is needed to deter record numbers of migrants from making the dangerous crossing of the Channel from northern France.
More than 10,000 migrants have crossed the road since the beginning of the year. On Tuesday, 444 people from France were detected in 11 small boats, the defense ministry said.
The ECtHR, which pronounced an Iraqi claimant, said his deportation must await the London Supreme Court’s final decision on the legality of the policy at a hearing next month.
Speaking to Britain’s opposition Labor party, Home Office spokeswoman Yvette Cooper said the government can only blame itself for what the Daily Mirror called a “cruel farce”.
“They have continued with a policy that they knew was unworkable, unethical and incredibly expensive because they just wanted to argue and blame someone else,” she said.
The legal challenges had highlighted concerns about human rights in Rwanda. But the government in Kigali insists it is a safe country.
“We are not deterred by these developments. Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work,” government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo told AFP.
“Rwanda stands ready to receive the migrants when they arrive and provide them with security and opportunities in our country.”
Cabinet Member Therese Coffey said the government was “surprised and disappointed” by Tuesday’s ruling, but Home Secretary Priti Patel reiterated by vowing preparations for the next flight would continue.
“And we will continue to prepare and try to undo future legal challenges as well,” Coffey told Sky News.
Speaking to the House of Commons, Patel confirmed that preparations for the next flight “have begun”, warned “our ability to help those in need is being seriously affected by those who come here illegally.”
“This government will not be stopped from doing the right thing,” it warned, adding that it will not allow the “usual suspects” or “mobs” to prevent the asylum seekers from being sent to Rwanda.
The ECHR is separate from the European Union, which left Britain in January 2020. But Tory back-seats, fresh from rallying in large numbers against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership, said the ruling infringed on British sovereignty.
The convention has often been used by human rights lawyers to frustrate Johnson and Patel’s crackdown on illegal migrants.
Coffey said she was “not aware of any decisions or even hints” in the government about withdrawing from the convention.
But last month, in the Queen’s Speech that opened a new parliamentary session, the government pledged to replace the 1998 law with a new one.
Originally published as Britain’s response after the planned flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda is halted by the Court of Human Rights