Boris Johnson takes swipe at lawyers as last-minute legal hearings take place over Rwanda flight

The Prime Minister faced questioning when on a visit to Staffordshire this afternoon


The Prime Minister addressed the Government's plans to deport migrants to Rwanda this afternoon labelling the move as "very important" to deter people traffickers.

When probed on reports that more migrants arrived across the Chanel this morning, he said: "Clearly from the people trafficking point of view, it's worth the risk."

The Prime Minister emphasised how he believed it was "very important to show the people traffickers that their business case is being undermined and that they are cheating people, not only are they risking their lives, sending them across the sea in an unseaworthy vessels".

The Prime Minister slammed lawyers for trying to stop his efforts to tackle illegal migration
The Prime Minister slammed lawyers for trying to stop his efforts to tackle illegal migration
Demonstrators protest outside the Home Office in London
Demonstrators protest outside the Home Office in London

The Prime Minister added: "But they are also running the risk of them being sent to another country, which they hadn't bargained for, and they're fundamentally ripping them off.

"That's the message that we need to get across to the people traffickers."

Mr Johnson was later asked whether the UK would have to leave the European Convention on Human Rights to avoid the kind of legal battle he faces.

He said lawyers were “very good at picking up ways of trying to stop the Government from upholding what we think is a sensible law”, adding: “Will it be necessary to change some laws to help us as we go along? It may very well be and all these options are under constant review.”

The Government already plans a shake-up of human rights laws, with a new Bill of Rights promised in the Queen’s Speech delivered in May.

With the first flight to Rwanda expected to carry a handful of migrants due to depart on Tuesday, cases involving the potential passengers were heard at the High Court and Supreme Court.

An application for permission to appeal by an Iraqi man seeking to avoid being sent to Rwanda was rejected by the Supreme Court.

But Lord Reed said: “In bringing that application, the appellant’s lawyers were performing their proper function of ensuring that their clients are not subjected to unlawful treatment at the hands of the Government.”

A plane believed to be the one which will carry the first asylum seekers to Rwanda was at Boscombe Down military base on Tuesday ahead of its flight.

Just seven people are due to be on board, following a string of legal challenges and Home Office reviews, but two of those were still seeking a High Court order to prevent them being sent to Rwanda.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the flight to Rwanda will take off no matter how few people are on board.

She said “some” individuals would be on the plane to Africa on Tuesday evening but could not say how many as she insisted the scheme is both legal and “value for money”, despite the reported £500,000 cost of the flight.