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Rwanda Supreme Court ruling LIVE: Cleverly says plan B ‘is ready’ as Sunak unveils effort to save scheme

Prime Minister vows to stop ‘foreign courts’ blocking flights amid pledges to get planes in air by spring

Sunak to introduce emergency legislation to revive Rwanda plan

James Cleverly has revealed the government’s plan B is “ready”, as a rattled Rishi Sunak has unveiled a last-ditch effort to save his flagship illegal migration policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

After the Supreme Court ruled the policy is unlawful, the home secretary told Sky News the government’s backup plan to get the Rwanda scheme off the ground is “pretty much ready”.

Meanwhile, the prime minister said he would introduce emergency legislation to stop “foreign courts”, such as the European Court of Human Rights, from blocking flights to Kigali as he vowed to get planes in the air by spring next year.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, he said ministers would draw up a new treaty with Rwanda and make changes to domestic law to “remove the obstacles in our way” and address the Supreme Court’s concerns that the east African country is not safe for asylum seekers.

It comes as Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Sunak should apologise to the country for blowing £140m on the failed scheme. “He has wasted all of his time on a gimmick and now he is absolutely nowhere,” the Labour leader said.


Cleverly says Rwanda plan B ‘is ready’

James Cleverly has said the government’s plan B to get the Rwanda scheme off the ground is “pretty much ready”.

However, when asked by Sky News when the first flights would leave the UK, the home secretary refused to commit to a date when Rwanda deportation flights would take off, saying: “I don't want to pick a date, where I can't give that degree of certainty.”

It came after the prime minister repeatedly refused to say whether the first deportation flight to Kigali would take off before the next general election, saying instead that he hoped the scheme would come into effect next spring.

Britain's Home Secretary James Cleverly speaking during a statement on the Government's Plan for Illegal Immigrationm in the House of Commons on Wednesday

Tara Cobham16 November 2023 07:38

Yvette Cooper: ‘Problems cannot be resolved in the short term’

Yvette Cooper has repeated Suella Braverman’s “magical thinking” jibe against Rishi Sunak after he promised a new treaty with Rwanda to make the deportation plan work.

The shadow home secretary told her new opposite number James Cleverly: “I suggest to him that he stops wasting taxpayers money on more failing schemes that he ditches the magical thinking and the culture wars of his predecessors and that he ditches the gimmicks and finally gets.”

After Ms Braverman was sacked, she accused Mr Sunak of “magical thinking” for failing to come up with a back-up plan if his Rwanda policy was blocked.

On Wednesday Ms Cooper cited the Supreme Court’s assertion that issues with the plan cannot be resolved in the short term, adding: “Again more of the magical thinking.”

Archie Mitchell15 November 2023 13:06

Theresa May: ‘Supreme Court judgment was not contingent on the ECHR’

Theresa May has said the Supreme Court judgment was “not contingent on the ECHR”, in a warning to Tory MPs urging Rishi Sunak to pull out of the human rights convention.

The former prime minister asked home secretary James Cleverly to confirm the fact.

Mr Cleverly said Ms May was making “an incredibly important point”.

Joe Middleton15 November 2023 13:17

James Cleverly 'struck' by Supreme Court remarks over Rwanda ruling

James Cleverly 'struck' by Supreme Court remarks over Rwanda ruling
Joe Middleton15 November 2023 13:22

Priti Patel: Rwanda plan is integral to stopping people smuggling

Priti Patel has called for the government to “take every necessary step” to ensure the Rwanda deportation plan is delivered.

The former home secretary said the plan is “integral to making sure we can break the model” of people smuggling gangs. Ms Patel said there are “practical measures” ministers can take working with the Rwandan government to enact the plan.

She added: “Can I please urge the home secretary to take every necessary step and measure to work with the government of Rwanda on the practical and operational delivery of this policy?

“Because this partnership is absolutely integral to making sure that we can break that model, stopping the evil trade of people smuggling.”

Joe Middleton15 November 2023 13:32

James Cleverly: Some asylum seekers lie about their sexuality

James Cleverly has said some asylum seekers lie about their sexuality to claim asylum, telling MPs that “bad people hide amongst good people”.

“Sometimes people lie to take advantage of the goodwill of others,” the new home secretary added.

Mr Cleverly was asked whether he stands by comments by his predecessor Suella Braverman, who said: “They come to the UK, they purport to be homosexual in the effort to get in our system in the effort to get special treatment.”

Ms Braverman did not provide evidence for the claim, and asked whether he had evidence to back it up, Mr Cleverly said: “You can’t prove a negative it’s it’s that’s a fallacy.” The new home secretary said he has pursued the rights of LGBT people around the world.

Joe Middleton15 November 2023 13:37

Starmer faces tricky afternoon over Gaza ceasefire vote

Sir Keir Starmer is facing a tricky afternoon as it appears a number of Labour MPs are set to defy him and back calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The SNP has tabled an amendment to the King’s Speech calling for a ceasefire which could be selected for a vote by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

Sienna Rodgers, a senior writer at the House Mag, tweeted that the “ceasefire amendment has 50+ Labour rebels – including more than a dozen frontbenchers.”

Labour MPs have been ordered to abstain on the SNP move and have instead been told to back Sir Keir’s position calling for longer “humanitarian pauses” rather than a ceasefire.

Labour frontbenchers who rebel to back a rival amendment would normally face the sack for breaking the party whip.

Joe Middleton15 November 2023 13:46

Sunak: ‘Disappointed but committed to making Rwanda plan work’

Rishi Sunak has spoken to Rwandan president Paul Kagama to express his “disappointment” at the Supreme Court’s judgment.

A readout of the pair’s call said: “[Mr Sunak] thanked President Kagame for his Government’s work over the last 15 months and the extra assurances we have already agreed as they said they would continue to work together to address the Court’s concerns.

“Both leaders reiterated their firm commitment to making our migration partnership work and agreed to take the necessary steps to ensure this is a robust and lawful policy and to stop the boats as soon as possible.”

Joe Middleton15 November 2023 14:00

Stephen Flynn calls for MPs to have 'free vote' on Israel-Hamas ceasefire

Stephen Flynn calls for MPs to have 'free vote' on Israel-Hamas ceasefire
Joe Middleton15 November 2023 14:15

Government should withdraw from ECHR and apply ‘notwithstanding’ legislation - Braverman ally

Sir John Hayes, a close ally of Suella Braverman, said the UK government should withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and apply “notwithstanding” legislation to allow asylum seekers to be deported.

The Conservative MP told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “The court judgment does draw on the ECHR but not the ECHR alone.

“We need to withdraw from that because it has metamorphosised. In its genesis, those who put together the European framework in the wake of the Second World War rightly took the view that international co-operation was necessary to avoid the horrors that we experienced in the 20th century.

“But it has metamorphosised, it has become a means of defending all kinds of horrors, so, yes, we do need to withdraw.

“In the short-term, a simpler process would be to have a piece of legislation that says, notwithstanding the obligations described, notwithstanding some of the things the court drew on today, that we will effect our policy.

“I hope that is what will be brought forward. It is what some people have described as a ‘Plan B’.”

File photo: Sir John Hayes

Matt Mathers15 November 2023 14:20

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