Politics

Caroline Lucas slams ‘vile’ government over Rwanda policy

Suella Braverman says High Court ruling ‘thoroughly vindicates’ Rwanda plan

Caroline Lucas has hit out at the government’s Rwanda policy after it was ruled lawful by the High Court.

The controversial scheme which sets out that illegal immigrants or asylum seekers will be flown to Rwanda to be processed, asylum and resettlement.

Speaking in the Commons about the policy before home secretary Suella Braverman, Lucas said: “The home secretary says she’s taking a deterrent approach, but it’s plain that today’s judgement cannot and will not function as a so-called deterrent.”

The MP went on to say: “...Since the whole point of his vile policy of expelling asylum seekers to Rwanda was that expulsion was supposed to happen automatically and rapidly for anyone without prior permission to come here via a refugee scheme.

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“Today’s High Court judgement found that each and every individual case must be assessed first, so there’ll be nothing automatic and under this government there’ll be nothing rapid about it either. “

The Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion then called for an end to the “useless cruelty”, as well as calling for more “safe and legal routes” and to “ensure that such routes actually function”.

“The British people are better than this vile British government,” she added.

It comes after the policy was ruled lawful. The policy was first announced by Priti Patel in April, and Lord Justice Lewis, who said it had been the “subject of considerable public debate”.

“The role of the court however is only to ensure that the law is properly understood and observed and that the rights guaranteed by parliament are respected,” he added.

A group of claimants was represented by Raza Husain QC, who indicated that the ruling might be appealed in future. Any applications for permission to appeal will be considered at a hearing on 16 January, while individual cases may still go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Making a statement in the Commons, home secretary Braverman said the Rwanda policy is a "humane" and "practical alternative" for those who come to the UK through "dangerous, illegal and unnecessary routes".

"Being relocated to Rwanda is not a punishment, but an innovative way of addressing a major problem to redress the imbalance between illegal and legal migration routes," she told MPs.

"It will also ensure that those in genuine need of international protection are provided with it in Rwanda. It is a humane and practical alternative for those who come here through dangerous, illegal and unnecessary routes.

"By making it clear that they cannot expect to stay in the UK, we will deter more people from coming here and make such routes unviable."

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