Priti Patel says ECHR ruling that blocked Rwanda flight was ‘scandalous’

Home secretary says doubts remain over court’s motivation for intervening

Liam James
Saturday 18 June 2022 00:46 BST
Opposition 'mobs' will not halt Rwanda deportations, says Priti Patel

Priti Patel has reportedly called the last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR) that grounded the government’s first deportation flight to Rwanda “scandalous”.

The flight was halted minutes before its scheduled take-off on Tuesday after the ECHR ruled two of the asylum seekers due to be on board should not be removed from the UK until their appeals had been heard.

The home secretary said soon after that the new deportation scheme would continue despite the false start. “Many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next. Our legal team are reviewing every decision made on this flight and preparation for the next flight begins now,” she said, though she withheld direct criticism of the ECHR.

But on Friday, in an interview with The Telegraph, Ms Patel said: “The opaque way this court has operated is scandalous.”

She added: “The’ve not used this ruling previously, which does make you question the motivation and the lack of transparency.”

Tuesday’s late intervention led some in the Conservative Party to call for Britain to pull out of the ECHR, a Strasbourg court which enforces a convention drawn up in 1956 and ratified by 47 member states. It is unaffiliated with the European Union.

Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister, said on Thursday the government had no plans to leave the court but said it had overstepped its powers in blocking the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

He said Britain could bring in new laws to ensure the court’s interim measures, such as the last-minute Rwanda intervention, could be ignored.

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