Airfield and Aircraft are Ready to Deport Unwanted Migrants to Rwanda, Insists UK PM Sunak

Getty Images / Collage

The British government has booked charter planes to carry unwanted migrants to Africa and has an airfield on standby, it says, but acknowledges the first flights are still three months away at best and Brexit leader Nigel Farage casts doubt on whether a single migrant will be removed at all.

The delayed and delayed-again Rwanda Bill, meant to deter illegal migration by sending those who arrive in the United Kingdom improperly to Africa returns to Parliament today. First mooted by the Conservative government of Boris Johnson over two years ago, it has limped from block and tackle by its left-wing, pro-open borders opponents ever since, including being struck down by the upper house earlier this month.

The constant throwing back and forth of the bill between the two chambers this year has been described as ‘Parliamentary ping-pong’, but Prime Minister Sunak has vowed that will now end, and the bill creating a legal environment permitting the government to deport large numbers of migrants to its partner nation, Rwanda, will be made law this week. Indeed, Sunak said on Friday that Parliament “will sit there and vote until its done”, and restrictions on how long the House can sit have been suspended, meaning Parliament is likely to be working long into tonight and into tomorrow morning.

Speaking in advance of tonight’s vote Prime Minister Sunak — despite all his failures otherwise — absolutely promised action, and that soon the United Kingdom would be deterring illegal immigration by sending those irregular arrivals to Rwanda, whose government will be paid by British taxpayers to give them new lives in its own territory.

The Prime Minister claimed: “No more prevarication, no more delay… No ifs, no buts, these flights are going to Rwanda… these flights will go, come what may. No foreign court will stop us from getting flights off”, and moved to promise swift action. Saying civil servants to process cases, courts, and judges have all been lined up to make sure deportations go ahead quickly, Sunak emphasised that even aircraft had been readied.

He said on Monday: “Staring from the moment that the bill passes, we will begin the process of removing those identified for the first flight… we will physically remove people and to do that I can confirm that we’ve put an airfield on standby, booked commercial charter planes for specific slots”.

He promised: “Relentless, continual process of successfully and permanently removing people to Rwanda with a regular rhythm of multiple flights every month over the summer and beyond until the boats are stopped.” In terms of the scale of the operation, the Prime Minister continued: “This is one of the more complex operational endeavours the Home Office has carried out, but we are ready, plans are in place. And these flights will go, come what may. No foreign court will stop us from getting flights off.”

Yet despite the apparently urgent language, Sunak acknowledged the first removal flights wouldn’t be for “ten to 12 weeks” after the bill became law, blaming the Labour Party opposition for holding up progress on the bill. Sunak had previously promised deportation flights by the Spring of 2024 — the first Rwanda flight carrying just seven migrants having failed to take off in June 2022 over a legal challenge — now his timetable looks like Summer instead.

Brexit leader Nigel Farage reflected on the rhetoric and said for all the big talk, the world hadn’t fundamentally changed and it remained the case that Britain is still subject to the Human Rights Act 1998, which “took the ECHR and put it into British law”. The tougher talk from Sunak only fuelled public expectations, Farage said, which would mean greater disappointment from the public when it failed.

He told GB News: “Do I believe that in ten to 12 weeks there will be planes taking off with significant numbers of migrants onboard? No I don’t… I promise you, not a single person is going to Rwanda. This is a complete charade. And the tougher he talks, the more he raises the rhetoric, the more public disappointment there will be.”

The rhetoric is familiar, well worn, and has scant evidence of having been worked on in the past, Farage reflected, noting former Prime Ministers David Cameron, Theresa May, and Boris Johnson all said “if you come here illegally you won’t be able to stay”.

Nevertheless, Sunak himself continues to claim the Rwanda plan will stop illegal migration to the United Kingdom by breaking the chain of incentives and destroying the business model of the “callous, sophisticated, and global criminal gangs who care nothing for the lives they risk in unseaworthy dinghies”. He said such deterrence had worked before, including for Albanian migrants to the UK and with Australia’s wildly successful turn-back-the-boats policy.

A key plank of the anti-Rwanda plan movement has been asserting that Rwanda is not a proper place to move migrants to Britain, because it is not a safe place to live. The British government denies this, saying the nation has made great strides since the well-known genocide and the persistent insistence that Rwanda is unsafe is evidence of left-wing racism against Africans.

Indeed, British government Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchell has said not only is Rwanda safe, it is in fact safer than being in crime-stricken Britain. A curious boast given the governing Conservatives have been in charge of the United Kingdom for 14 years now and responsible for law and order — even if London itself has a left-wing mayor and consequently left-wing-led policing — but nevertheless Mitchell said Rwanda had made “remarkable steps”.

He said: “It is a safe country. And indeed, if you look at the statistics, Kigali is arguably safer than London.”



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.