Plans to send migrants to Rwanda will have only a “marginal” benefit, a Government minister has said.
The scheme has been mired in legal challenges, and so far no flights carrying migrants to the African nation have departed.
Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchell said the scheme was not the “whole answer”.
He also rejected the idea that the UK could withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) over plans to tackle the problem of small boats carrying migrants across the English Channel.
On Channel 4’s Andrew Neil Show, Mr Mitchell – who was critical of the Rwanda scheme as a backbencher – said if it was to have “any” benefit, it would not be the “whole of the effort we have to make”.
“It will be a marginal benefit. What we have to do is to stop these boats and there are a series of other mechanisms which we could use to do that,” he said.
The scheme was “worth exploring”, but “it is definitely not the whole answer”.
Despite speculation in Westminster, Mr Mitchell said the idea of leaving the ECHR was not being seriously considered.
An intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, which rules on ECHR cases, effectively grounded the first scheduled flight under the Rwanda partnership deal last year.
Some in the Tory Party – including Home Secretary Suella Braverman – have argued in favour of leaving the ECHR to help make it easier to send migrants overseas.
But Mr Mitchell said: “The proposal that we should leave the ECHR is not one that the Government has considered and is, in my view, unlikely to consider.”