The only conclusion one can reach is that the policy is an appeal to the far right in marginal constituencies in the hope that the Conservatives can avert the predicted disaster. What else could it be? It is not principle, as he chose to vote for something he does not believe will work. It has to be the eternal Tory strategy of fooling some of the people most of the time.

Background to Rwanda policy

In November of last year, the UK Supreme Court deemed the existing immigration policy unlawful. Sunak is now anticipating that the upcoming legislation will address legal concerns and fulfill his commitment to prevent individuals from arriving in the UK via small boats across the Channel.

The significance of immigration in Britain stems from the desire to regain control of borders and cease the free movement of people, a pivotal factor in the 2016 decision to leave the European Union. Recent polls indicate that immigration remains a crucial concern for voters. Sunak’s government has introduced measures to reduce legal migration by 300,000, aiming to deter the perilous journey of approximately 20 miles across the Channel in small boats.

Despite these efforts, over 29,000 individuals arrived via this route last year, following a record-breaking 45,775 migrants in 2022. As of the current year, over 260 people have been detected, and tragic incidents, such as the reported deaths of five migrants, highlight the dangers of this journey.

The Rwanda Plan, established in April 2022 by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, aimed to dissuade illegal migration to Britain and disrupt the business model of people smugglers. However, the plan faced legal challenges, with the Supreme Court ruling it unlawful due to the risk of migrants being sent back to unsafe conditions. Despite the absence of deportations, Britain has already paid Rwanda £240 million ($304 million), with plans to send migrants, although Rwanda’s current capacity is limited to a few hundred individuals.

Sunak’s commitment to the Rwanda policy is rooted in his 2022 pledge to “stop the boats.” The UK currently spends over £3 billion annually on processing asylum applications, with accommodation costs reaching approximately £8 million per day.

To address concerns raised by the Supreme Court, Sunak negotiated a new treaty with Rwanda to ensure that individuals would only be sent back to Britain. His proposed bill, potentially conflicting with the European Convention on Human Rights, asserts Rwanda’s safety and grants ministers sole authority over compliance with European Court of Human Rights injunctions. If passed, flights to Rwanda are anticipated to commence in the spring.

Legal experts suggest that, despite the bill, Britain may still be bound by the European Court of Human Rights findings. Some lawmakers have backed amendments to prevent deportations from being blocked by judges and to limit grounds for appeal.

In addition, potential delays in the House of Lords and the upcoming election, where the Labour Party pledges to scrap the policy if victorious, add further complexity to the legislative process. As other European nations adjust their immigration policies, Britain faces a challenging path in navigating the complex landscape of international law and public opinion.

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