Rishi Sunak 'to hand Rwanda another £15m' to sign Channel boats treaty

Rishi Sunak ‘will hand Rwanda another £15m’ to sign treaty and keep Channel migrants deportation plan alive

Rishi Sunak is poised to hand Rwanda another £15million to sign a treaty that could keep his Channel migrants deportation plan alive.

The PM is expected to offer extra cash on top of the £140million already given to Kigali as part of the much-vaunted deal.

The top-up emerged with Home Secretary James Cleverly set to fly to the African nation as soon as tomorrow to seal the new agreement.

The treaty will include provisions on the treatment of those deported to Rwanda, and is seen as essential to overcoming the objections of the Supreme Court to the government’s policy.  

Emergency legislation spelling out that Parliament regards Rwanda as a safe country could also be tabled this week.

Home Office figures show that 93 migrants travelling on two boats arrived in Britain on Friday, with more apparently coming yesterday (pictured) 

Home Secretary James Cleverly is set to fly to Rwanda as soon as tomorrow to seal a new agreement

Mr Sunak met Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on the sidelines of the Cop28 climate talks in Dubai on Friday.

He declined afterwards to say how much more money he would spend to get the scheme off the ground.

According to the Sunday Times, the additional £15million will be used to pay for extra personnel to improve and expand the Rwandan asylum processing system.

Mr Sunak told a press briefing while at Cop that he was ‘finalising’ legislation designed to push through the Rwanda proposal, seen as critical to deliver his ‘stop the boats’ vow before a general election next year.

The PM has said he wants to see the first deportation flights take off by Spring.

No10 sources said the UK Government was hopeful that the emergency legislation would be ready this week but that it could not be guaranteed.

The bid to send some asylum seekers on a one-way trip to the African nation was dealt a blow when the Supreme Court ruled it unlawful last month.

Mr Sunak’s attempt to save the policy involves the signing of a new treaty with Kigali and the introduction of emergency legislation allowing Parliament to deem the country safe, despite concerns raised by senior judges.

Following the judgment by the Supreme Court on November 15, Downing Street originally said a new small boats law would be published within days but the wait has gone on for more than two weeks.

On Wednesday, the Home Office’s top official confirmed to MPs that negotiations on a Rwanda treaty were in their final stages.

Permanent Secretary Sir Matthew Rycroft told the Home Affairs Select Committee that officials were in the capital Kigali putting the ‘finishing touches’ to the talks.

Migrants have continued to brave freezing December conditions to cross the Channel.

Home Office figures show that 93 migrants travelling on two boats arrived in Britain on Friday, with photos showing more apparently landing yesterday.

Almost 28,500 asylum seekers have arrived in 2023 using the sea route, with the one year anniversary of Mr Sunak’s stop the boats pledge approaching next month.

Meanwhile, Keir Starmer has dismissed the Rwanda policy as a ‘gimmick’ and accused the Tories of a ‘betrayal’ of their 2019 manifesto commitment to lower migration.

But the Labour leader acknowledged that he needs to set out how his party would tackle illegal and legal migration.

Mr Sunak met Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on the sidelines of the Cop28 climate talks in Dubai on Friday

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Sir Keir said his leadership had been ridding Labour ‘of the nonsensical idea that some subjects are simply off limits for us’.

‘I profoundly disagree with the idea Labour should not be talking about immigration or small boats crossings,’ he added.

‘These are matters of serious public concern and deserve to be treated as such.’

He added: ‘When people see Government ministers wasting their time on gimmicks like Rwanda, they are right to conclude they are more interested in talking about small boat crossings than stopping them.

‘Labour would use the full force of Britain’s intelligence and policing to smash the criminal gangs growing fat on the misery of human trafficking, destroying their evil business model.

‘The Government should do the same.’

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