Cleverly ‘scoffed at Rwanda plan’ ...then he became Home Secretary
JAMES Cleverly opposed the Rwanda scheme before his move to the Home Office, saying it was a ‘waste of money’ that ‘won’t work’, it was claimed yesterday.
The new Home Secretary was also accused of failing to progress negotiations with other countries to set up Rwanda-style schemes while he was at the Foreign Office.
Mr Cleverly’s remarks – said to have been made in a ministerial meeting just two months ago – risk undermining his position as the Cabinet minister now tasked by Rishi Sunak to get removal flights off the ground by the spring.
His alleged comments also risk angering the Tory Right, amid increasing pressure from Mr Cleverly’s predecessor, Suella Braverman, to take Britain out of European human rights laws.
A Home Office insider told the Mail: ‘Cleverly said words to effect of, “This Rwanda plan won’t work and it’s a waste of money. We should focus on other measures.”
‘Also, as foreign secretary, he failed to progress any negotiations with other third countries. He hates the Rwanda scheme and thinks it’s a basket case.’ Earlier this week, Mr Cleverly said he did not recognise claims that he had described the Rwanda policy as ‘bat****’.
In his previous role as foreign secretary, Mr Cleverly was partly responsible for overseeing negotiations with countries potentially willing to accept asylum seekers from Britain. But sources claimed his opposition to the scheme stymied progress in securing deals.
Earlier this week, the PM set out a new plan to get the Rwanda scheme working after it was deemed unlawful by the Supreme Court.
A new treaty with Rwanda – expected to be published on Monday – will seek to iron out judges’ main objection to the scheme and will be binding under international law. In addition, ‘extraordinary’ new emergency legislation will see
Parliament assert that Rwanda is a safe country to which migrants can be removed.
But in a new intervention yesterday, former home secretary Mrs Braverman, who was sacked by the PM on Monday, said the new plan did not go far enough.
She warned the Rwanda scheme was doomed to fail unless the UK excluded it from all human rights laws.
Branding Mr Sunak’s proposals a ‘tweaked version’ of the failed Plan A rather than an effective Plan B, Mrs Braverman called for emergency legislation to block ‘all avenues of legal challenge’.
The Home Office did not respond to requests for comment about Mr Cleverly’s alleged remarks.