Government to appeal ‘unlawful’ Rwanda deportation ruling

Rishi Sunak says he will seek to overturn the decision at the Supreme Court

Rishi Sunak
Stopping small boat crossings is one of Rishi Sunak’s key pledges
(Image credit: Yui Mok/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he “fundamentally disagrees” with a Court of Appeal ruling that his government’s Rwanda deportation scheme is unlawful and will now take the case to the Supreme Court.

The UK announced the “controversial multimillion-pound deal” with Rwanda last year, as the government committed to removing asylum seekers it deemed had made “dangerous, unnecessary and illegal journeys” to Britain, said Politico.

But the Court of Appeal has concluded by a majority of two to one that the African nation could not be considered a “safe third country” to which asylum seekers could be sent, overturning a previous High Court ruling and “throwing the much-vaunted policy into fresh legal chaos”, said the news site.

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In a statement on the ruling, Sunak said he would do “whatever is necessary” to ensure that the Rwanda scheme does go ahead. The government, he said, would now seek to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court.

Nevertheless, the ruling is a “huge blow” for Sunak, who has pledged to “stop the boats” as one of his five policy priorities ahead of the next general election, said Reuters.

Contending with “high inflation, rising interest rates and declining public support” amid “growing pressure from his party and the public to tackle rising numbers of asylum seekers”, the prime minister is hoping that a fall in arrivals will help the Conservative Party “pull off an unexpected win at the next national election”.

The £120 million deal with Rwanda was a big part of that migration policy. But so far no migrant has been deported to Rwanda after a series of legal challenges.

With a general election looming, Sunak is “desperate to demonstrate progress” on this issue, agreed Sky News’ political correspondent Liz Bates. “That said,” she added, should the threat of deportation from the UK fail to bring down the number of small boat crossings, “the legal log jam could become a convenient political excuse”.

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