Britain’s Top Court Rules Rwanda Scheme Unlawful. What Options Are Left For Sunak?
Before an election expected next year, Britain’s Supreme Court dealt a crushing blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday as it ruled the government’s scheme to send migrants arriving without permission to Rwanda as unlawful.
The top court unanimously ruled that the east African country could not be considered a safe third country, delighting opponents who said the policy was cruel and unworkable, and infuriating those on the right wing of Sunak’s Conservative Party.
Leave European Convention on Human Rights
After taking office as new PM in October 2022, Sunak pledged to “stop the boats”, one of the key vows of his premiership. The government is now seeking to upgrade a MoU with Rwanda to a full-blown treaty ratified by parliament and therefore, less vulnerable to legal challenges.
UK officials are already in talks with Rwanda. In order to bypass concerns over migrants sent there being at risk of being deported and abused within their country of origin, they hope to get Rwanda to promise to house all those sent there, even if they aren’t offered refugee status.
This prospect, however, raises awkward questions, including will rejected migrants be free to leave the authoritarian east African country. Furthermore, hard-right Tories are convinced that Britain leaving the European Convention on Human Rights could lure in a solution to the crisis.
“Just Put The Planes In The Air Now”
The British government is bound by European Court of Human Rights rulings, which was established by the convention. But it is extremely rare for a country to leave the Echr. While Russia was expelled following the Ukraine war, Belarus is not a part of the convention.
On Wednesday, Lee Anderson, the Conservative’s Deputy Party Chairman, called on the Prime Minister to “ignore” the top court’s verdict on the Rwanda scheme and “just put the planes in the air now”. “I think the British people have been very patient,” the Ashfield MP noted.