Ministers will not give up on Rwanda deal if they lose case
MINISTERS will continue to try to make the Rwanda asylum deal work if they lose the Supreme Court case this week.
Government lawyers are pessimistic about the chances of judges backing the Prime Minister’s flagship scheme to deter small boat crossings.
But Rishi Sunak is said to be determined to pursue a deterrent to stop migrants from making the perilous journey across the Channel even if the Government is defeated.
The Home Office is drawing up contingency plans which include tweaking the scheme or agreeing a new deal with Rwanda in the form of a treaty, which could be harder to defeat in the courts.
Declaring more countries ‘safe’ on the official list would also allow migrants from those places to be deported. Turkey and Egypt – which are in the top ten countries for crossings – could be added to the list. Another option is to seek reform of the Human Rights Act, with ministers reportedly being given legal advice on amending it so that it no longer applies to illegal migration.
Should those options be deemed unworkable, they could pursue the ‘nuclear option’ of leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). While supporters of Home Secretary Suella Braverman are said to favour the latter route, No 10 is said to believe the crossings could be stopped without having to go that far.
A senior Tory MP told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Quitting the ECHR would be the nuclear option. It’s Suella’s preferred option. Rishi wants to keep his options open.’
The Supreme Court will rule on the legality of the Government’s scheme which has been stalled since it was blocked by the ECHR last year. If the Government is successful, flights would begin in the new year. If it is ruled unlawful, ministers would have to pursue other options. Sources pointed to the direction of travel in other European countries that are becoming hardline on immigration.
Mr Sunak is due to give a speech this evening ahead of Wednesday’s judgment outlining a ‘hard-headed’ foreign policy approach to defending the UK’s values.
The Prime Minister will warn that ‘moral clarity’ is needed at a time when war is raging in the Middle East and Ukraine.
He will tell international dignitaries: ‘In these dangerous times, we’re not just defenda better vision of the future against those who would destroy it, we’re marshalling our expertise, our people and our alliances to bring that future into being.
‘We’ll continue to stand up for what is right... and show that our values will prevail.’