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Patel vows to push ahead with Rwanda plan despite legal battles

Home Secretary Priti Patel defended the policy after the first flight was effectively blocked by the European Court of Human Rights.

15 June 2022

Priti Patel has insisted the Government will press ahead with its plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda despite an 11th-hour legal ruling by a European court which halted the first departure.

The Home Secretary said she was surprised by the European Court of Human Rights’ intervention, overruling domestic judicial decisions, but told MPs it was “inevitable” there would be legal challenges to the Government’s policy.

In an apparent reference to the human rights lawyers who have repeatedly taken on the Government, she told MPs that “the usual suspects” had set out to “thwart” the plan.

But she added: “This Government will not be deterred from doing the right thing. We will not be put off by the inevitable legal last-minute challenges.

“Nor will we allow mobs to block removals.”

Giving details of the decisions made out of hours by the Strasbourg court, she said it had not ruled the policy was unlawful but “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. Anyone who has been ordered to be released by the courts will be tagged while we continue to progress their relocation.”

She said the court’s decision was “disappointing and surprising” but “we remain committed to this policy”.

“We believe that we are fully compliant with our domestic and international obligations, and preparations for our future flights and the next flights have already begun,” she told MPs

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