Home secretary Priti Patel has insisted the UK Government will “not be deterred”, after a deportation flight to Rwanda was cancelled.
A chartered plane, at an estimated cost of around £500,000, had been due to depart from London Stansted Airport on Tuesday evening.
But, the flight was halted after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights (EHRC).
Up to seven people had been due to be on the flight to the Rwanda.
A request for an urgent interim measure to an Iraqi national was granted by the EHRC, with the court also considering a number of further requests.
Those appeals were considered by an out-of-hours judge on papers, overruling the UK rulings.
At the present time, it is understood, there is not a route for the Home Office to appeal the decision.
Speaking after the intervention, Patel described the actions of the EHRC as “very surprising”.
And she stated that “many of those removed from this flight will be placed on the next”, as she indicated the Government will press ahead with its plans to control UK borders.
“Earlier this year, I signed a world-leading Migration Partnership with Rwanda to see those arriving dangerously, illegally, or unnecessarily into the UK relocated to build their lives there,” she said.
“This will help break the people smugglers’ business model and prevent loss of life, while ensuring protection for the genuinely vulnerable.
“Access to the UK’s asylum system must be based on need, not on the ability to pay people smugglers.
“The demands on the current system, the cost to the taxpayer, and the flagrant abuses are increasing, and the British public have rightly had enough.”
Patel indicated that the Government’s legal team are reviewing the decisions made.
“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,” Patel continued.
“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.”
The Rwandan Government also stated that it “stands ready” to receive migrants from the UK.
Spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said: “We are not deterred by these developments.
“Rwanda remains fully committed to making this partnership work. The current situation of people making dangerous journeys cannot continue as it is causing untold suffering to so many.
“Rwanda stands ready to receive the migrants when they do arrive and offer them safety and opportunity in our country.”
The halting of the flight was welcomed by Refugee Council chief executive Enver Solomon.
But, he condemned the Government’s “refusal” to see the people behind the case.
“Whilst we are relieved to hear the flight to Rwanda did not take off as planned tonight, it is clear that the Government remain determined to press on with this deal – leaving us to continue to witness the human suffering, distress, and chaos the threat of removal will cause with far reaching consequences for desperate people who are simply in need of safety,” said Solomon.
“The fact that the final flight could not take off is indicative of the inhumanity of the plan and the Government’s complete refusal to see the face behind the case.”
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, added: “We’re pleased the courts have ruled to stop this flight.
“It’s time for the Government to stop this inhumane policy which is the basest of gesture politics and start to engage seriously with sorting out the asylum system so those who come to our country seeking refuge are treated fairly and according to the law.”