European judges ground deportation flight despite UK’s Supreme Court, High Court and Court of Appeal ruling in favour of the Government

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“Preparation for the next flight begins now" - Home Secretary Priti Patel. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Just hours after a UK court had rejected their plea, asylum seekers won injunctions last night to remove them from a plane set to take them to Rwanda after the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) stepped in.

Questions are now being raised why the UK has remained a signatory of the ECHR, which is policed by the European court despite leaving the EU.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said she was “disappointed” and “very surprised” at the European courts intervention despite “repeated earlier success in our domestic courts.” 

A government source said:

“European judges grounded the whole thing despite the Supreme Court, High Court and Court of Appeal ruling in favour of the Government. It is appalling.”

Pledging that she would not be “deterred from doing the right thing,” the Home Secretary said:

“Preparation for the next flight begins now.”

The government is already replacing the Human Rights Act with a new UK Bill of Rights, but until now has maintained the UK will remain a signatory of the ECHR. This enabled the ECHR to grant an urgent injunction to one of the asylum seekers to remove him from the flight, just hours after the UK’s Supreme Court had rejected his plea.

The remaining migrants already on the flight and facing deportation then secured similar injunctions and the Boeing 767 charter flight, with engines already running at RAF Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, was suddenly grounded. 

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had already hinted yesterday at leaving the European Convention on Human Rights.

Asked on a visit to Staffordshire whether the UK would have to leave the ECHR to avoid the kind of legal battle he faced over Rwanda, the Prime Minister said lawyers were “very good at picking up ways of trying to stop the Government from upholding what we think is a sensible law.”

The Prime Minister added:

“Will it be necessary to change some laws to help us as we go along? It may very well be and all these options are under constant review.”

The PM has also accused lawyers of “abetting the work of the criminal gangs” by blocking a policy to deter migrants from making dangerous and unnecessary journeys across the Channel facilitated by people smugglers.

A source has told the Conservative Post:

LEFT-WING LAWYERS TEAM UP WITH THE ILLEGAL ARRIVALS IN THE ASYLUM ACCOMMODATION AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO PUT IN CLAIMS FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BECAUSE THE EVIDENCE THRESHOLD TO PROVE THEY ARE A VICTIM OF TRAFFICKING / SLAVERY IS INCREDIBLY LOW.”

The source said:

“IT IS SUPER EASY FOR UNSCRUPULOUS LEGAL ADVISORS, PAID FOR BY THE TAX PAYER TO COACH THEM HOW TO DO IT SO THEY CAN ENTER OUR SUPPORT SYSTEM.”

However, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has already promised further flights to Rwanda saying:

“If they are not on this flight, they will be on the next flight. We want to break the business model of the people traffickers.”

Under the government’s world-leading Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda the migrants sent there will receive a generous support package, including up to five years of training, accommodation and healthcare on arrival.

Under the partnership deal, the UK is also investing an initial £120 million into the economic development and growth of Rwanda.

Last year, the number of illegal migrants making the hazardous journey to the UK reached a record 28,500, and according to official figures so far this year more than 10,000 people have already crossed the English Channel in small boats.

The partnership with Rwanda forms part of the New Plan for Immigration, the government’s response to overhaul the asylum system – which is currently costing the UK taxpayer £1.5 billion a year – to create a fair but firm immigration system.

The Rwandan government said it was prepared to receive “thousands” of flights of migrants from the UK. 

In a press conference in Kigali, Yolande Makolo, spokeswoman for the Rwandan government, said there were “misconceptions” about how the African country would treat asylum seekers, adding:

“We are doing this for the right reasons.

“We are not deterred by these developments. Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work. The current situation of people making dangerous journeys cannot continue as it is causing untold suffering to so many.

“Rwanda stands ready to receive the migrants when they do arrive and offer them safety and opportunity in our country.”

Asylum seekers have previously been resettled in Rwanda under an EU scheme.

A transit centre near the capital Kigali was set up four years ago by Rwanda and the UN with the support of the EU to house refugees in Libya trying to make it across the Mediterranean. 

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