Rishi Sunak said his government will appeal against the Court of Appeal’s ruling that his government’s Rwanda policy is unlawful.
Judges said the African country had not provided enough detail to prove it is a “safe third country” and that refugees deported there by Britain could be forced to return to the country from which they were fleeing.
As such the government’s immigration policy is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights – which was proposed by Winston Churchill, drafted by British lawyers and signed in 1950 three years before it came into force in 1953.
Sunak said he “fundamentally disagreed” with the ruling and would appeal to the Supreme Court. The controversial Rwanda policy has been the subject of legal challenges since former home secretary Priti Patel signed a deal with the African country in April last year, to detain and deport refugees crossing channel without their asylum claims being considered.
Home secretary Suella Braverman vowed “it’s not over yet” and told MPs in the Commons that she will do “whatever it takes to stop the boats” after judges ruled in favour of the charity Asylum Aid which brought the legal challenge following an earlier ruling by the High Court.
Asylum Aid said the appeal court’s finding is a “vindication of the importance of the rule of law and basic fairness”.
However, Braverman expressed her and the PM’s “disappointment” at the ruling and confirmed the government’s intention to appeal “very, very swiftly”.
“The system is rigged against British people, it’s as simple as that,” said Braverman.
“That’s why we are changing the laws through our illegal migration bill. That’s why we are rolling out a ground breaking partnership with Rwanda, which we believe is lawful, which we believe is safe. We need to change the system, we need to change our laws.
“That’s how we’re going to stop the boats.”
Labour called the Rwanda policy “unethical” and accused the home secretary of “ramping up rhetoric” over the issue of asylum seekers.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper told MPs the Rwanda project is “completely unravelling”. She accused Braverman of “wasting everybody’s time” on “ramping up the rhetoric rather than coming up with a serious plan”, castigating the policy as “unworkable, unethical and extortionately expensive.”
Cooper added:”This is their chaos, their Tory chaos, their boats chaos and their broken asylum system.”
SNP MP Patrick Grady said: “Isn’t this exactly what the government’s wanted all along? A fight with the judiciary, a fight with the House of Lords, triangulating the official opposition … doesn’t this play straight into their dog whistle agenda?”
The UNHCR – the United Nations’ refugee agency – gave evidence to the Court of Appeal about Rwanda’s record of human rights abuses towards refugees and said the Home Office would not be able to guarantee the safety of those it wanted to deport to the country in east Africa.