Rwanda will be able to receive ‘thousands’ of migrants as soon as the expulsion flights begin, says Suella Braverman as she responds to ‘critics who want to cancel the deal’
- The Interior Minister will arrive in Kigali to “reinforce commitment” to the asylum agreement
Rwanda will be able to accommodate ‘thousands’ of migrants as soon as transfer flights begin, Suella Braverman said last night.
The Home Secretary, who arrives in Kigali today to ‘strengthen commitment’ to the asylum deal, attacked Labor and other critics who say the scheme will only be able to accommodate a few hundred Canal migrants.
The Rwandan government will be able to put large numbers of beds into operation as soon as removal flights from the UK are cleared to take off, Ms Braverman said. She also described Rwanda as “one of the safest countries in the world” ahead of a series of high-level meetings to discuss the next stages of the scheme.
He added: “The suggestion that Rwanda can only host 200 people is a completely false narrative spread by critics who want to cancel the deal.”
“Rwanda has the capacity to accommodate tens of thousands of people and can support this quickly once the flights start.”
Rwanda will be able to receive ‘thousands’ of migrants as soon as transfer flights begin, Suella Braverman said last night.
His comments setting out the scope of the plan come after a debate in the House of Commons on Monday, when shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “At most, the Rwandan authorities say they can carry to a couple hundred people.”
During this weekend’s trip to the East African nation, Ms Braverman will visit new accommodation sites being built by the Rwandan government to house migrants being sent from Britain.
Under the terms of the deal signed last April, the migrants will receive a one-way ticket to Rwanda and apply for asylum there instead of the UK.
The inaugural flight of removals from the Ministry of the Interior to Rwanda was stopped in late June by the European Court of Human Rights. Since then, the scheme has been bogged down by legal challenges, but High Court judges ruled it legal in December. Appeal hearings will take place in the coming weeks.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak predicted transfer flights could start in the summer, saying he was confident the plan would clear legal hurdles in the coming months.
During her trip, the interior minister will meet Rwandan President Paul Kagame, a former military officer who has been in power since 2000.
“We will be discussing all aspects of the partnership, which is not just about deterring illegal and dangerous travel to the UK, but ensuring those who really need protection are supported to build a new life in Rwanda,” said Ms Braverman. .
The UK government has asked the European Court of Human Rights to stop using “deeply flawed” powers that blocked the maiden flight to Rwanda. If Strasbourg fails to reach a deal, ministers will change UK law so they can ignore attempts by the European court to interfere, the new Illegal Migration Bill states.
It came as at least 100 migrants arrived in the UK on a small boat across the Channel yesterday. So far, 3,198 migrants have crossed from northern France since the beginning of the year.