Home Secretary James Cleverly arrives in Rwanda to sign new asylum treaty

5 December 2023, 09:36 | Updated: 5 December 2023, 10:02

James Cleverly arrives in Rwanda to sign new migrant treaty
James Cleverly arrives in Rwanda to sign new migrant treaty. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

James Cleverly has arrived in Rwanda to sign a new treaty for the government's asylum plan.

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The Home Secretary touched down in Kigali as part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's mission to make the deal to send migrants to Rwanda legally watertight following a Supreme Court ruling.

In the wake of the judgement on November 15, the government insisted it had been working on contingency measures and promised a treaty with Rwanda within days, along with emergency legislation in parliament.

Home Secretary James Cleverly arrives at Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, where he will sign a new treaty with Rwanda,
Home Secretary James Cleverly arrives at Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, where he will sign a new treaty with Rwanda,. Picture: Alamy

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Mr Cleverly said Rwanda "cares deeply about the rights of refugees" and he looks forward to meeting counterparts and signing the deal.

The home secretary said: "We are clear that Rwanda is a safe country, and we are working at pace to move forward with this partnership to stop the boats and save lives.

"The Supreme Court recognised that changes may be delivered in future to address the conclusions they reached - and that is what we have set out to do together, with this new, internationally recognised treaty agreement.

"Rwanda cares deeply about the rights of refugees, and I look forward to meeting with counterparts to sign this agreement and further discuss how we work together to tackle the global challenge of illegal migration."

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There has been speculation Rwanda is pushing to get more money on top of the £140m already committed to the scheme.

The Sunday Times reported Kigali will be given a £15m top-up payment to agree fresh terms on its agreement with the UK.

Earlier, Immigration minister Robert Jenrick told LBC that success would look like planes carrying asylum seekers taking off from the UK to the African nation.

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Mr Jenrick said: "Success, ultimately, is getting flights off to Rwanda and further reducing the number of small boat crossings.

"This step is that we hope to sign a treaty with the government of Rwanda that further strengthens our relationship with them, puts more safeguards in place for the scheme that we've designed and, specifically and in a detailed way, answers all of the concerns that were set out by the Supreme Court in their judgment the other day, so that when Parliament comes to vote on our new emergency legislation in the weeks and months ahead it can do so in the knowledge that the arrangement with Rwanda is fundamentally different and stronger, and that the legitimate concerns the Supreme Court had have been put to bed."

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