Date set for first Rwanda flight if Rishi Sunak wins Supreme Court showdown

UK-Rwanda deportations ruled unlawful

The first Rwanda deportation flight will take place next February if the Government secures victory in its Supreme Court bid.

Civil servants have been told to prepare for the first flight carrying asylum seekers on a one-way ticket to the East African nation on February 24.

The date, reported by the Daily Mail, comes as the Government faces a wait over whether the policy is lawful.

The Home Office has challenged a Court of Appeal ruling from earlier this year that the multimillion-pound deal was unlawful.

A three-day hearing took place at the Supreme Court this month.

Supreme Court president Lord Reed said the five justices would give their ruling at a later date.

Both the Court of Appeal and High Court gave judgments on their respective cases around two months after the hearings ended.

Britain paid Rwanda £140million under an asylum partnership struck in April 2022.

The first deportations were due in June last year but the plane did not leave the tarmac after a series of legal challenges.

In June, Court of Appeal judges in June overturned an earlier High Court ruling that found Rwanda could be considered a “safe third country”.

The Rwanda policy is a key part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to stop small boats.

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick yesterday said the “substantial” reduction in small boats crossing the Channel shows the Government’s plan is beginning to work.

He told Sky’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: “We have to motivate people to vote Conservative.

“And the key there is actually delivering for the public. In my area, which is immigration. We are working round the clock to reduce the amount of illegal migration, and our plan is beginning to work.

“We have seen a substantial reduction in the number of small boat crossings this year versus last year. I don’t pretend that that is enough, but it does show that the plan that we put in place a year ago is beginning to work.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “Our relationship with Rwanda is strong and we remain completely committed to delivering this policy.”

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