Rishi Sunak refuses to recommit to spring deadline for Rwanda flights

Rishi Sunak has refused to recommit to his spring deadline for getting flights off the ground to Rwanda.

The Prime Minister has previously repeatedly stated his intention to start deportation flights to the east African nation by this spring, but on Friday evaded questions about timings.

He blamed Labour peers for delays to his Rwanda Bill in its passage through Parliament.

The legislation, which aims to send some asylum seekers on a one-way trip to Rwanda in order to deter people from crossing the English Channel in small boats, remains stuck in deadlock after peers again insisted on changes this week.

Pressed on whether the spring deadline still stands, he told reporters after a speech in London on Friday: “The very simple thing here is that repeatedly, everyone has tried to block us from getting this Bill through.

“Yet again you saw it this week. You saw Labour peers blocking us again, and that’s enormously frustrating. Everyone’s patience with this has run thin, mine certainly has.

“So our intention now is to get this done on Monday. No more prevarication, no more delay. We will sit there and vote until it’s done.”

Mr Sunak continued: “We’re going to get this Bill passed, and then we will work to get flights off so we can build that deterrent, because that is the only way to resolve this issue. If you care about stopping the boats, you’ve got to have a deterrent.”

Downing Street on Thursday also refused to confirm whether flights would take off in the spring.

The Bill and a treaty with Rwanda are intended to prevent further legal challenges to the stalled asylum scheme after the Supreme Court ruled the plan was unlawful.

As well as compelling judges to regard the east African country as safe, it would give ministers the power to ignore emergency injunctions.

But the House of Lords on Wednesday snubbed ministerial calls to back down and again insisted on revisions to the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill.

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