Rwanda policy has not been ruled unlawful, says Priti Patel after court halts flight

Politics

Priti Patel has said the government’s Rwanda migrant policy has not been ruled unlawful after a last-minute intervention by a European court blocked the first deportation flight.

The home secretary told MPs that the injunctions was not an “absolute bar” on the removal of the asylum seekers due to have been on the flight – and that they would be tagged while efforts to do so continue.

She insisted that the Home Office would press on with the policy – which has been described as shameful by Church of England and is reported to be regarded as “appalling” by the Prince of Wales – despite legal challenges.

Ms Patel said the court “did not rule that the policy or relocations were unlawful but they prohibited the removal of three of those on last night’s flight”.

“Those prohibitions last for different time periods but are not an absolute bar on their transfer to Rwanda,” she said.

“Anyone who’s been ordered to be released by the courts will be tagged while we continue while we progress their relocation.

“While this decision by the Strasbourg court to intervene was disappointing and surprising given the repeated and considered judgments to the contrary in our domestic courts, we remain committed to this policy.”

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Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, branded the Rwanda policy a “shambles”.

“This is a shambles and it is shameful and the Home Secretary has no one but herself to blame,” she said.

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