Tory Rwanda deportation policy is lawful, says High Court. So what?

Suella Braverman: this is an archive image but you can bet she’s happy now.

The Tory government’s plan to send people who have arrived in the UK by illegal means to Rwanda is lawful, and the administration acted rationally in arranging the deal with that country – according to the High Court.

Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, is treating it as a major victory, saying she will move ahead with the policy as soon as possible.

But how soon is that?


First, the courts will have to deal with any appeals against this decision. That process will begin in January.

Then, there could be a challenge to the Supreme Court, depending on whether there is concern over the interpretation of any points of law.

Furthermore, the High Court has ruled that more care needs to be taken in the judgement of each case, meaning that many candidates – if they may be described that way – for deportation to start a new life in Rwanda may be found unsuitable for it.

And finally, any who are sentenced to go may try to petition the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to have the ruling overturned.

So Braverman has been careful not to suggest that any flight will take place soon.

Meanwhile, opponents of the policy have been condemning it from all sides.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper said the policy remains “unworkable, extortionate and deeply damaging”, and “risks making trafficking worse”.

Alison Thewlis for the SNP said the police was “deeply immoral”, saying people “fleeing war, famine and oppression deserve and need our full support”.

And there were more:

Clare Moseley, founder of refugee charity Care4Calais, called the decision on Monday “disappointing”.

She said: “People who have suffered the horrors of war, torture and human rights abuses should not be faced with the immense trauma of deportation to a future where we cannot guarantee their safety.”

Josie Naughton, chief executive of migrant charity Choose Love, said the ruling “flies in the face of international commitments and accountability”, adding that campaigners will “continue to fight” for the “human right to seek asylum”.

James Wilson, deputy director of Detention Action, said: “We are disappointed that the High Court has found the removal of refugees to an autocratic state which tortures and kills people is lawful. However, we will fight on.

“The Rwanda policy is brutal and harmful and we will now consider an appeal against today’s judgment.”

It seems clear that the jubilation from the Tories is premature.

The Tories may be kicked out of government before this controversial policy reaches any kind of fruition at all.

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