Victory for Priti as appeal court judges ALLOW first migrant flight to Rwanda tomorrow

Dame Priti Patel. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Judges have ruled in favour of the Government’s plan to send the first asylum seekers to Rwanda on a flight tomorrow (Tuesday).

After Court of Appeal judges rejected a last-ditch legal bid to block a flight due to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda last week, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) and charities Care4Calais and Detention Action took the case to the Court of Appeal after the High Court this afternoon.

However, the judges again ruled in favour of Home Secretary Priti Patel and the first flight of illegal migrants in Britain can now go ahead and be deported to the east African country tomorrow.

Judge Rabinder Singh said the Court of Appeal could not interfere with the High Court judge’s “clear and detailed” judgement, and refused permission for further appeal.

Lord Justice Singh, sitting with Lady Justice Simler and Lord Justice Stuart-Smith, said Mr Justice Swift had “conducted the balancing exercise properly” and did not err in principle nor in the approach he took.

He added:

“He weighed all the factors and reached a conclusion which he was reasonably entitled to reach on the material before him.

“This court cannot therefore interfere with that conclusion.”

Lawyers for the three groups and one person due to be removed had asked for an interim block on removing those due on Tuesday’s flight until the full hearing of whether the policy is lawful next month.

Rory Dunlop QC, representing the Home Office, had told the court:

“The flight tomorrow is important.

“This is a policy which is intended to deter dangerous and unnecessary journeys, journeys from safe third countries by people who do not need to make that journey to be safe, they can claim in France or wherever it is.

“This is a policy that if it works, could save lives as well as disrupting the model of traffickers.

“Even if we are just talking about cancelling a flight tomorrow, there is prejudice to the public interest, to the enactment of decisions that may have that deterrent effect.”

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters this morning during a visit to a farm in Cornwall:

“I always said that it will begin with a lot of teething problems and you will have a lot of legal action against it and they will try and delay it – that’s inevitable.

“But what we’re trying to do is stop the business model of criminal gangs who are preying on people moving them across the Channel in unseaworthy vessels, risking their lives and sometimes costing their lives.”

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.


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