Rishi Sunak says his ‘patience is worn thin’ with legal blocks to Rwanda migrant plan as PM meets with African country’s leader Paul Kagame on sidelines of COP-28 climate summit

Rishi Sunak today said his ‘patience is worn thin’ with legal blocks on the Government’s plan to send migrants to Rwanda.

The Prime Minister, who met with the east African country’s leader at the COP-28 climate summit, vowed to ‘finish the job’ and get the asylum scheme up and running.

He said the Government is currently ‘finalising’ new legislation and a fresh treaty with Rwanda in order to manoeuvre around last month’s Supreme Court ruling.

In a devastating blow to Mr Sunak’s pledge to ‘stop the boats’, the UK’s top judges ruled the policy to send asylum seekers to east Africa was ‘unlawful’.

The PM is now pursuing a twin-track approach to move past the court’s judgment with new laws at Westminster and a new agreement with Kigali.

Rishi Sunak met with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame at the COP-28 climate summit in Dubai

The PM is currently ‘finalising’ new legislation and a fresh treaty with Rwanda in order to manoeuvre around last month’s Supreme Court ruling

Quizzed about his talks with Mr Kagame at the COP-28 gathering, Mr Sunak hailed their two countries’ ‘deep partnership’

Downing Street described the PM’s talks with Mr Kagame on the sidelines of the climate summit as a ‘brush-by’ that lasted no more than 10 minutes

Quizzed about his talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the COP-28 gathering in Dubai, Mr Sunak hailed the two countries’ ‘deep partnership’.

Downing Street described the PM’s talks with Mr Kagame on the sidelines of the climate summit as a ‘brush-by’ that lasted no more than 10 minutes.

Asked about the meeting at a press conference, Mr Sunak said: ‘We have a deep partnership with Rwanda, which he’s committed to, as am I.’

He added: ‘We’re finalising the arrangements we have with them. It was good to check in with him on that and reiterate both of our commitment to making the partnership work.

‘Paul and I have forged a very strong relationship over this issue. He’s keen to work very constructively with us, we’re keen to work very constructively with them.

‘This is such a vital issue for the UK so it’s important that we get the details of all of this right.’

Mr Sunak said he looked forward to bringing the proposals before Parliament and the British public ‘soon’.

Earlier, the PM told broadcasters the goal is to ‘make sure that Parliament can declare unequivocally’ that Rwanda is a safe place to operationalise the scheme.

Once affirmed by Parliament, he said, ‘there should be no more domestic blocks to us putting in place this programme’.

‘But I’ve also been clear that I won’t allow a foreign court to block us from flights taking off,’ Mr Sunak added.

‘My patience is worn thin, the British people’s patience is worn thin.

‘And although we’ve made great progress on this issue – reducing the number of small boat crossings by a third this year, something that everyone thought was impossible when I got this job – we’ve got more to go.

‘I want to finish the job and that’s why I’ll get the Rwanda scheme up and running.’

Mr Sunak declined to say how much more money he would spend to get Rwanda scheme off the ground.

The migration policy would have a ‘crucial’ deterrent effect on those crossing the Channel in small boats, he told reporters travelling with him in Dubai.

He added: ‘If we can get that right, it will literally save us billions in the long run, so that is the right focus.’

The PM has been urged, including by sacked home secretary Suella Braverman, to adopt tough legislation that includes ‘notwithstanding’ clauses.

It is claimed this would prevent judges from applying protections in the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to asylum cases.

But Government lawyers have reportedly warned that instructing the courts to ignore the ECHR risks opening up more avenues for migrants to challenge the legality of deportation flights.

Asked how far he would go on the ECHR, Mr Sunak said: ‘I am completely confident, everything that we are doing complies with our international obligations.’

Source: Read Full Article