Government's ‘unlawful’ Rwanda policy ruling explained

Government's ‘unlawful’ Rwanda policy ruling explained

The government’s controversial Rwanda policy has been deemed 'unlawful' by the Supreme Court.

In April 2022, then prime minister Boris Johnson first announced plans to deport migrants, who’d come to the UK illegally, to the African country.

He said it would work as a deterrent and stop asylum seekers making the dangerous boat journeys across the Channel to get into the UK.

However, the first flight due to take asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda was cancelled in June 2022, just minutes before it was due to take-off, thanks to a late intervention from the European Court of Human Rights.

That intervention marked the beginning of 18 months of legal battles, up until Wednesday when the Supreme Court echoed the decision of the Court of Appeal, and deemed the proposals unlawful.

Planned flights to Rwanda's capital Kigali will stay grounded despite the UK handing over more than £140 million for the policy.

At Wednesday's PMQs prime minister Rishi Sunak vowed to sign an upgraded deal with Rwanda, and hinted he could change UK laws “if necessary” and may reconsider “international relationships”.

Our Court Correspondent Tristan Kirk was at the Supreme Court to witness the decision.

In this episode of The Standard podcast, Tristan describes the evidence presented to the judges, and their rationale for deeming the policy unlawful.

Tristan also considers the government’s next steps, and explains why even leaving the European Convention of Human Rights, as some MPs have called for, wouldn’t make the Rwanda policy lawful.

Listen above, find us on Apple, Spotify or wherever you stream your podcasts.