"Nobody wants to see these crossings across the Channel,” said the Labour leader. “They will only stop if we smash the criminal gangs who are running this vile trade.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said that his party will reverse the government’s Rwanda policy, even if the Supreme Court declares it as legal.
Previously, Court of appeal judges have ruled that it was unlawful to send asylum seekers to Rwanda to have their claims processed. The court ruled that due to deficiencies in the Rwandan asylum system there was a real risk that people sent to Rwanda would be returned to their home countries, where they face persecution or other inhumane treatment.
Rwanda was deemed as not a ‘safe third country’. The Home Office is taking its case to the Supreme Court with a three-day hearing starting on Monday. Five justices at the UK’s highest court will hear arguments over whether the appeal judges were right to find there was a “real risk” asylum seekers could be returned to their home country and face persecution when they may have a good asylum claim.
The £140 million Rwanda deal has been slammed for already wasting money and energy which could have gone on increasing staff numbers to tackle the backlog and processing of asylum seekers already, rather than into a scheme now deemed unlawful.
Now Labour leader Starmer says that his party will reverse the policy even if it is deemed legal. Answering questions from Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday, Sir Keir was asked if he would stop Rwanda flights if they had already started up and Channel crossings had been reduced.
He said in response: “Yes – I think it’s the wrong policy.
“It’s hugely expensive. It’s a tiny number, a tiny number of individuals who go to Rwanda. And the real problem is at source.”
Starmer emphasised that the real solution lies in tackling the root cause of the problem. He said: “We’ve been told by the government time and again that what they’re saying, even seeing, that they have got a Rwanda scheme that will reduce numbers. That hasn’t happened.”
“Nobody wants to see these crossings across the Channel,” said the Labour leader. “They will only stop if we smash the criminal gangs who are running this vile trade.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward