A plane set to leave the UK bound for Rwanda with asylum seekers onboard will not leave this evening following a last-minute intervention from the European Court of Human Rights.
All migrants have been removed from the flight that was due to take off from a military airport in Wiltshire at around 10.30pm on Tuesday.
An out-of-hours judge overruled UK lawmakers to grant an urgent interim measure in regards to an Iraqi national.
That led to further pleas from those aboard the controversial one-way flight to the East African nation being heard before the entire flight was grounded.
Boris Johnson previously suggested lawyers representing migrants were “abetting the work of criminal gangs” as last-ditch court hearings took place.
The Prime Minister had insisted the Government would not be deterred from its policy, despite criticism from the Church of England and reportedly also from the Prince of Wales.
Mr Johnson acknowledged there had been criticism of the plan from “some slightly unexpected quarters” but highlighted the legal profession as the main source of opposition to the Rwanda policy, which will send asylum seekers on a one-way trip to the African nation.
Activists formed a blockade by lying on the road in a chain outside Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre in an effort to halt vans transporting migrants to the flights in their path.
Just seven people were due to be on board the plane following a string of legal challenges and Home Office reviews.
It is understood there is currently no legal mechanism for the Home Office to challenge the decision.
Home Secretary Priti Patel described the European Court of Human Rights intervention as “very surprising”, adding that “many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next”.
She added: “I have always said this policy will not be easy to deliver and am disappointed that legal challenge and last-minute claims have meant today’s flight was unable to depart.
“It is very surprising that the European Court of Human Rights has intervened despite repeated earlier success in our domestic courts.
“These repeated legal barriers are similar to those we experience with other removals flights and many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next.
“We will not be deterred from doing the right thing and delivering our plans to control our nation’s borders.
“Our legal team are reviewing every decision made on this flight and preparation for the next flight begins now.”