Tory plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda are in tatters after the Supreme Court last week ruled them unlawful.
Ministers wanted the power to immediately detain “illegal immigrants” and put them on a plane to the east African country—without assessing their asylum claims.
But last Wednesday five judges decided the scheme contained a “real risk” that asylum seekers sent to Rwanda would be returned to their own country. They could face ill-treatment and even death if sent back.
Lord Reed said that would constitute “refoulement”—a legal term for the forcible return of asylum seekers to a country where they could face persecution. He said this would breach both British and international law.
The judges noted Rwanda’s poor human rights record. The court was also concerned about Rwanda’s failed asylum system. And, judges concluded that Rwanda had recently broken a similar agreement to handle asylum seekers that had fled to Israel.
Rwanda deported many claimants back to their country of origin. The comprehensive decision is a blow to Rishi Sunak’s “stop the boats” policy.
It came a day after sacked home secretary Suella Braverman wrote a scathing attack on his government.
The racist ex-minister told her old boss that he had adopted “wishful thinking” to “avoid having to make hard choices”.
Braverman had previously described delivering the Rwanda plan as her “dream” and “obsession”.
The Tories were quick to rally round their racist policy. New home secretary James Cleverly announced that he planned to change the agreement with Rwanda into a treaty.
This, he said, would have extra clauses to stop asylum seekers from being returned home—and get around the courts.
Tory MPs want Sunak to support a law stating that the European Convention of Human Rights and the Refugee Convention won’t apply to the Rwanda policy.
Disgracefully, Labour attacked the Tories from the right. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said their record was, “Wasting time, wasting money and letting the country down.”
She demanded more deportations, calling for “A proper returns unit in place so that we can end hotel use.”
Weyman Bennett from Stand Up To Racism said, “At a time sharply polarised by crises and where the government wants to use racist scapegoating and division to divert the blame, we must celebrate these victories.
“But we must also intensify the anti-racist resistance and build a mass movement that can adequately prevent the threat of racism, division and hate, and the rise of the new far right”.