Rishi Sunak’s ambitious ‘Stop the Boats’ pledge faced a significant setback today as the Supreme Court unanimously deemed his Rwanda deportation plan illegal.
The government’s hopes were dashed, prompting immediate calls from the Tory camp to relax European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) protections.
The court’s decision raised concerns among ministers, with Tory Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson advocating for the government to “ignore the laws” and proceed with deportations to Rwanda.
Despite the setback, Sunak emphasized that the principle of deporting asylum seekers to a safe third country remains intact.
The ruling triggered a turbulent political atmosphere, with Home Secretary James Cleverly set to make a statement to MPs. Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman criticized Sunak’s handling of the Channel crisis, labeling it a lack of a ‘credible Plan B.’
Ministers expressed determination to push forward with the Rwanda plan, considering options such as elevating it to a parliamentary treaty and emergency legislation to bypass human rights laws.
Some suggested leaving the ECHR, emphasizing the need for the UK to control its immigration policies.
International Legal Framework:
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), established in 1950, was central to the court’s decision. Critics and officials pointed out alternative international treaties, including the UN Refugee Convention, as avenues to address asylum concerns.
Public and Political Reactions:
Liberal Democrats urged the government to abandon the “immoral” Rwanda scheme, while Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf condemned it as “unlawful” and “morally repugnant.” Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision.
Letter to the Prime Minister:
Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s scathing letter to the Prime Minister warned of a lack of a credible Plan B and potential political consequences.
The ongoing Channel crisis, with over 27,000 arrivals as of November 12, adds urgency to the government’s response.
Judges and Legal Background:
The five Supreme Court judges who ruled against the Rwanda scheme, led by President Lord Reed, have played crucial roles in significant legal cases. The judgment highlights the complex legal landscape surrounding the government’s deportation plans.
Timeline of Rwanda Scheme:
The Rwanda deportation plan’s journey through legal battles and political challenges spans over 18 months. From its announcement by Boris Johnson in 2022 to the Supreme Court’s recent decision, the plan has faced constant scrutiny amid the ongoing Channel migrant crisis.
The Supreme Court’s ruling against Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda deportation plan adds a new layer of complexity to the government’s efforts to address the Channel migrant crisis. The legal and political ramifications will likely shape the next steps in the ongoing battle to control immigration policies.