'No possibility' of sending migrants to Rwanda for processing, insists Refugees Minister

5 April 2022, 08:04 | Updated: 5 April 2022, 20:17

A new plan to process asylum seekers in Rwanda is reportedly in the works
A new plan to process asylum seekers in Rwanda is reportedly in the works. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

There is "no possibility" of sending migrants to Rwanda for processing, the Refugees Minister has insisted, despite reports to the contrary.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Lord Richard Harrington told LBC's Iain Dale on Tuesday evening: "If it's happening in the Home Office on the same corridor that I'm in they haven't told me about it.

"I'm having difficulty enough getting them from Ukraine to our country, there's no possibility of sending them to Rwanda."

Earlier reports suggested Prime Minister Boris Johnson was expected to announce the plans in the coming days.

Under the plans, asylum seekers would be flown to Rwanda for processing and settlement, with the UK paying millions as part of the deal, according to The Times.

Discussions were reported to be under wraps, with ministers only referencing "country X" during meetings.

The paper also revealed that Mr Johnson was edging closer to making a formal statement about his plans to "outsource" the processing.

A trial was initially intended to be announced last week, during a surge migrants attempting the Channel crossing.

Read more: Royal Navy ships patrolling Channel 'too high' to block migrant boats, minister admits

Read more: Flimsy migrant boat lands safely near Dover as fishermen ask: Where's Border Force?

However, a government source told the paper that Mr Johnson "wobbled" amid concerns from colleagues that plans were not quite ready.

"He wanted to go ahead with it but it’s just not ready," they said.

"It's close but there are still a lot of things in the balance."

Ministers were said to instead be waiting for Priti Patel's Nationality and Borders Bill to make its way through the House of Lords and be given royal assent.

If the bill makes its way through all stages, reports suggested an announcement could come ahead of the Queen's Speech next month.

It comes as the year already saw a record high of migrants attempt the Channel crossing in small boats.

Over 4,500 have attempted the journey - a figure which was not reached until June in 2021.

There were previously similar attempts to process migrants in Albania and Ghana but they fell through.