Liz Truss questioned on Rwanda policy for refugees
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Liz Truss today pledged to stick to the controversial plan of sending migrants to Rwanda in a bid to tackle Channel crossings. The Prime Minister also vowed that Britain would take on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after an 11th-hour intervention grounded the first flight back in June.
Ms Truss was asked this morning on BBC Radio Kent if the Government would stick to its Rwanda policy, which was introduced by then-Home Secretary Priti Patel but has faced heavy criticism from refugee charities.
Doubling down on the plan to send asylum seekers on a one-way ticket to the African nation, the Prime Minister said Home Secretary Suella Braverman was “determined” to make sure the Strasbourg-based court cannot block flights.
The Prime Minister said: “We are and what we will make sure is that UK courts can’t be overruled by the ECHR so we are able to deal with a small boat crisis.
“And the Home Secretary is determined to get on with that.”
It came as Ms Truss faced an intense grilling in a round of interviews with regional BBC radio stations amid an economic meltdown following the tax-slashing mini-budget last Friday which has sent the pound into free fall and led to extraordinary interventions from the International Monetary fund and the Bank of England.
The Prime Minister’s comments on the Rwanda policy come as more than 30,000 people have been detected crossing the English Channel to the UK so far this year, surpassing 2021’s total of 28,526.
It is more than five months since Ms Patel announced plans to send migrants to the East African country to try to deter people from making the perilous journey across the busy shipping lane.
The then-Home Secretary announced her deal with Rwanda in April.
However, the first deportation flight – due to take off on June 14 – was grounded amid legal challenges.
Several asylum seekers, the Public and Commercial Services Union and charities Care4Calais, Detention Action and Asylum Aid, are embroiled in court cases with the Home Office as they challenge the legality of the policy.
It comes as the number of people reaching the UK in small boats from France has increased in recent years.
Some 299 were detected in 2018, followed by 1,843 in 2019 and 8,466 in 2020, Government figures show.
During the Tory leadership race, Ms Truss committed to the Rwanda policy and even pledged to extend it.
Speaking in August, she told ITV: “We need to make sure that the appalling people traffickers don’t succeed in bringing small boats across the English Channel.
“I would support and extend the Rwanda policy to more countries but also I would make sure in British law that we can’t be overruled by the ECHR so we are able to protect our borders.”
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