Home Office cancels plans to deport three people to Rwanda in High Court submissions

The High Court has heard an urgent bid to block a deportation flight to Rwanda under the Government’s controversial policy to remove asylum seekers

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The Home Office's lawyers have said they cancelled the removal directions for three people who asked the High Court to prevent their deportation to Rwanda, written submissions state.

Mathew Gullick QC, for the department, said: “The defendant submits that no order for interim relief should be made – either at the individual level, to prevent the removal of the first claimant, or at the wider level sought by the claimants, i.e. to prevent the removal of any asylum seeker to Rwanda who has not provided ‘informed consent’.

“Neither such order is justified.”

Reports follow news of increasing legal challenges which have been issued on behalf of a number of people who have received notification they will be removed on a flight due to leave the UK on Tuesday June 14.

Home secretary Priti Patel
Home secretary Priti Patel

Alongside those are challenges to the policy brought by the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), which represents more than 80 percent of Border Force staff, as well as refugee campaign groups and charities including Care4Calais, Asylum Aid and Detention Action.

Lawyers acting for the groups say the policy is unlawful and are seeking an urgent injunction at a hearing on Friday to stop next week’s planned flight, and any other such flights, ahead of a full hearing of the case later in the year.

The first flight from the UK containing migrants is expected to leave next Tuesday, but could be grounded if the High Court grants the injunction.

Home Office officials are thought to be expecting that the remaining 38 or so notified to be on the June 14 flight will follow suit this week.

It comes as the latest figures show more than 10,000 migrants have crossed the Channel to the UK so far this year.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel shakes hands with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Birutaare
British Home Secretary Priti Patel shakes hands with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Birutaare

James Wilson, deputy director of Detention Action, said: “In her desire to punish people for seeking asylum by forcing them on to a plane to Rwanda, Priti Patel has overstepped her authority.

“By rushing through what we say is an unlawful policy, she is turning a blind eye to the many clear dangers and human rights violations that it would inflict on people seeking asylum.

“It’s vital that new Government policies respect and uphold the laws that we all, as a society, have agreed to follow.

"That’s why we’re seeking an injunction to keep this plane to Rwanda from leaving the runway.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Our world-leading partnership with Rwanda is a key part of our strategy to overhaul the broken asylum system.

“We have been clear from the start that we expected legal challenges, however we are determined to deliver this new partnership.

“We have now issued formal directions to the first group of people due to be relocated to Rwanda later this month. This marks a critical step towards operationalising the policy, which fully complies with international and national law.”