Jeremy Hunt admits Rwanda deportation flights may not happen at all next year

Jeremy Hunt says the government ‘can’t guarantee’ that migrant flights will take off next year

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has appeared to let slip that flights to Rwanda may not take off even next year.

The interview comes after yesterday’s damning blow to the Government’s flagship immigration policy by the Supreme Court.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Hunt admitted for the first time that flights may not even get off the ground in 2024, likely meaning there will be no deportations ahead of the General Election.

He said: “We are hopeful that because of the solutions that the PM announced yesterday we will be able to get flights off to Rwanda next year”.

“We can’t guarantee that.

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“We have to pass emergency legislation in the House of Commons, we have to sign a new treaty with Rwanda, but our commitment to the British people is that although the supreme court ruling was a setback we will not allow anything to get in the way of delivering the PM”s pledge to secure our borders by stopping the boats.”

His comments appear to be at odds with Rishi Sunak, who last night said Migrant flights to the African country will take off by spring.

“We will get the job done, and that involves the new treaty, and new domestic legislation, and that will clear the remaining barriers so us getting flights off as planned in the spring of next year”.

Mr Hunt’s admission also undermines the Government’s Immigration Minister, who this morning said he is “confident” the government will be able to see flights take off to Rwanda next year, adding it is “absolutely critical” they happen in the spring.

The Chancellor has now been accused of saying “the quiet bit out loud” in the face of overly optimistic statements from others in the government.

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Speaking last night Mr Sunak announced a new three-part plan to get the Rwanda plan moving again, however many on the right say it doesn’t go far enough.

The Prime Minister said the Government will very shortly agree a new international treaty with Rwanda, which will provide “guarantees in law” that those deported from the UK to Rwanda won’t then be returned to their home countries if they fail the asylum application.

He will also push through legislation in Parliament declaring the African country to be safe, in the hope of ending the “merry-go-round” of legal challenges.

Thirdly he said he will “revisit those international relationships to remove obstacles in our way” and prevent foreign courts from blocking deportation flights.

Last night Tory MP Dame Andrea Jenkyns launched a petition to pressurise Mr Sunak into withdrawing from the European Convention of Human Rights entirely.

The ECHR’s Strasbourg court, according to critics, has become politicised and is now the main obstacle to Britain being able to control its borders.

Many on the right also accuse the convention of having changed too much since it was agreed in 1950, and is now overreaching to frustrate sovereign parliaments.

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