Newsdeck

Asylum seekers

UK’s Sunak suffers major blow as Rwanda migrant scheme declared unlawful

UK’s Sunak suffers major blow as Rwanda migrant scheme declared unlawful
A general view shows the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom building in London, Britain, 15 November 2023. The Supreme Court on 15 November will make a decision on whether the British government's controversial plan to remove people seeking asylum and deport them to Rwanda is lawful. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - The UK Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the government's scheme to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful, dealing a massive blow to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's major election pledge on immigration before a vote expected next year.

The court unanimously rejected the government’s appeal against an earlier ruling that migrants could not be sent to Rwanda because it could not be considered a safe third country.

The Rwanda scheme is the central plank of Sunak’s immigration policy as he prepares to face an election next year, amid concern among some voters about the numbers of asylum seekers arriving in small boats on Britain’s shores.

Announcing the court’s decision, court President Robert Reed said the five judges involved agreed there were “substantial grounds for believing that asylum seekers sent to Rwanda would be at real risk of refoulement”, being sent back to their country of origin.

But he left open the chance the scheme could be resurrected saying “the changes needed to eliminate the risk of refoulement may be delivered in the future, but they have not been shown to be in place now”.

The ruling is a major setback to Sunak’s promise to stop migrants arriving without permission on the south coast of Britain in small boats from Europe.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Alex Richardson and Kate Holton)

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Become a Maverick Insider

This could have been a paywall

On another site this would have been a paywall. Maverick Insider keeps our content free for all.

Become an Insider