Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he will introduce emergency legislation to make sure his Rwanda plan will work, and said “flights will be heading off in the spring as planned”.
After the Supreme Court’s Rwanda ruling, the prime minister said he has been working on a “new international treaty with Rwanda” which would provide a guarantee in law to protect any asylum seekers from removal from the African country.
The prime minister insisted the new legislation would ensure flights would not be delayed by legal action, ending the “merry-go-round” of legal challenges – and said he would “not allow a foreign court to block these flights”.
“We are a reasonable government and this is a reasonable country, but the British people’s patience can only be stretched so far,” he said.
Mr Sunak said he is “delivering” on his pledge to stop the boats, and the new treaty is “ready to go” to reassure the courts.
“We will clear the remaining barriers and flights will be heading off in the spring as planned,” he said.
On Wednesday, the UK’s highest court said those sent to the East African country would be at “real risk” of being returned home, whether their grounds to claim asylum were justified or not – breaching international law.
The decision represents a huge blow to the government’s flagship immigration policy aimed at stopping Channel crossings – a pledge Mr Sunak has staked his premiership on.
After the ruling the prime minster rejected calls to axe the controversial scheme, saying he was prepared to change the law and “revisit” international relationships.
He is under pressure from some Tory MPs to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and potentially other treaties, in order to push forward with the plan.
Suella Braverman, who was sacked as home secretary on Monday, has called for emergency legislation to “block off the ECHR and other routes of legal challenge”.
Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson said the government should “ignore the laws” and send migrants back the same day they arrive in the UK.