More legal objections are being rejected, thus a plane is being prepared on the Ministry of Defence runway in preparation for a voyage to Africa
A plane intended to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda sits on a Ministry of Defense runway in Wiltshire – as legal challenges continue ahead of the scheduled flight tonight.
The Boeing 767-300 is based at Boscombe Down in Amesbury. It comes as a three-judge panel denied leave to a man to challenge Monday’s Court of Appeal ruling, which upheld a High Court judge’s earlier ruling not to issue an appeal. injunction to remove it from the flight.
Briefly explaining the decision, the President of the Court, Lord Reed, said there had been “an assurance” that action would be taken to bring back all migrants who had been deported by air if it appeared that government policy deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda illegal meanwhile to the East African nation. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the program “may take some time to work properly, but that doesn’t mean we won’t move forward.”
Asked whether it would be necessary to get out of the European Convention on Human Rights to mitigate legal challenges, Johnson added: “Will some laws need to be changed to help us as we continue? That may very well be the case, and all of these options are constantly being considered.”
Sky News understands seven asylum seekers are believed to be on the first flight from the UK to the East African country, which is due to take off tonight.
Three would-be deportees lost claims at the High Court today not to be put on the plane. One of them, an Iraqi Kurd, had contracted PTSD in Turkey while traveling to the UK and filed a complaint asking not to be removed due to his mental health and his relationship with his sister, who lives in the UK.
His application was rejected by Judge Swift, who said, “The Secretary of State had the right to make the decisions he made.”
A second, a Vietnamese man who claimed to have received death threats from loan sharks in Vietnam, was also fired after the judge dismissed an argument that he had been denied translation services. A third, a man who traveled to the UK from Iran with his 21-year-old son, asked the court to prevent his removal because of his mental health and right to family life.
Judge Swift dismissed this, saying, “I accept the prejudice the plaintiff will have as a result of his son’s divorce.”
A fourth appeal against the expulsion order in Rwanda will be heard in the Supreme Court today. Lawyers discussed in court how the plaintiffs could appeal the sentences if they were deported. Any appeal would first be heard before the Court of Appeal and then an application could be made to the Supreme Court. Secretary of State Liz Truss told Sky News this morning that she couldn’t say exactly how many migrants would be aboard the plane that was due to take off tonight.
But she rejected claims by Church of England leaders that the policy of putting asylum seekers on a one-way flight to East Africa “puts Britain to shame.” The flight could cost £ 500,000
A legal appeal by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, filed by groups including Care4Calais, for the first flight under the Rwanda scheme failed with reports estimating the cost of the flight at £ 500,000.
The aim of the program is to discourage people from illegally entering the UK. So far today, 92 adults and 12 children have been brought ashore by Border Force officers after attempting to cross the English Channel. When asked where they came from, they answered Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Ms Truss said she couldn’t put a figure on the cost of the flight, but insisted: ‘It’s good value for money.’
She dismissed criticism from the bishops, saying the Rwandan policy was “entirely legal” and “entirely moral” and urged opponents to find an alternative to the plan, which she called “effective and working”.
Mr Johnson has denounced lawyers who have questioned the policy. On Tuesday he told the cabinet: “What the criminal gangs are doing and what those who actually support the work of the criminal gangs are doing undermines people’s trust in the safe and legal system.”
In Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, Sky News asked the country’s government what it thought of the deportees, saying they would rather die than be sent there.
Spokesman Yolande Makolo said: “We do not see life in Rwanda as a punishment”.
“Impossible and expensive”
Shadow Labor Culture Secretary Lucy Powell told Sky News: “We think this policy is impractical … it’s incredibly expensive. This will potentially cost over a million pounds per refugee who fails or succeeds in making it to Rwanda. And we think that’s unethical – and it’s actually quite un-British.
“We are known around the world as a haven for those truly fleeing persecution and war – it has been part of our makeup in this country for decades.”
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York – along with 23 other bishops – wrote a letter to The Times saying no attempt had been made to “understand the fate” of those affected. Their letter reads: “Regardless of whether the first expulsion flight leaves Britain for Rwanda, these policies should put us as a nation ashamed.
“The shame is ours, because our Christian heritage should inspire us to treat asylum seekers with compassion, fairness and justice, as we have done for centuries.”
But the deportations – and the possible forced return of asylum seekers to their homelands – are immoral and shame us as a nation. Last year, more than 28,000 people crossed the English Channel in small boats, more than three times the number in 2020.
According to data from the Interior Ministry, more than half were Iranians or Iraqis, and people from Eritrea and Syria also crossed the crossing.