British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Tuesday that the first deportation flight from Rwanda will be “value for money– even though there will only be a handful of people on board.
The first flight to Rwanda is part of a controversial policy implemented by the British government, which says it will deter people from crossing the English Channel to migrate. It is expected to take off around 9.30pm on Tuesday evening, as human rights lawyers fight to prevent the deportation of migrants.
A Home Office official told London Playbook that just seven people were now to be on the flight, but the ongoing ‘legal merry-go-round’ would likely mean ‘the last person being pulled out’.
But Truss was undeterred by the legal wrangling and backlash – which included broadsides from Church of England leadership, Prince Charles, and Border Force union representatives.
“There will be people on the flight, and if they’re not on this flight, they’ll be on the next flight,” she said. Sky News on Tuesday morning.
And Truss brushed off the critics of the measure. “These people need to come up with an alternative policy that will work to deal with these illegal human traffickers,” she said.
The flight is “value for money,” Truss said. She added that she “doesn’t have a figure” for the number of people on board, but “the important point is the principle…we want to break the model of human traffickers”.
The UK’s £120million deal with Rwanda, signed in April by Home Secretary Priti Patel and backed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, allows the UK government to send migrants to Rwanda where they should seek asylum, rather than in the UK. has survived legal challenges, including one that was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on Monday.
Labour’s shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell called the measure “unworkable”, “unethical” and “not going to stop the illegal trafficking of people across the country” on Sky News on Tuesday morning.