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Labour would ask Rwandan government for a refund on the £400million deal if no flights take off

25 January 2024, 18:04 | Updated: 25 January 2024, 21:21

Yvette Cooper said she wanted to “see what is possible to have returned”
Yvette Cooper said she wanted to “see what is possible to have returned”. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

Labour would ask the Rwandan government for a refund on the £400million deal if no flights take off, LBC has been told.

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Yvette Cooper said she wanted to “see what is possible to have returned” if they make it to No10.

Labour has vowed to scrap the controversial programme which would see migrants who come to the UK illegally be sent to Rwanda instead.

The UK has paid £240m to Rwanda, with a further £50m to come.

But so far, no one has been sent to the East African nation.

Labour would ask Rwandan government for a refund on the £400million deal if no flights take off

The Rwandan government has said that the UK could be eligible to get some cash back if it doesn’t happen.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame said: “It's only going to be used if those people will come. If they don't come, we can return the money."

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And today Ms Cooper told LBC that under her leadership, Labour would fight to get taxpayer cash back.

She said: "We certainly want to not throw good money after bad and see what is possible to have returned.

“But both the UK and Rwandan government have said some of the money can't be returned under any circumstances.

“For a scheme that is failing how have they got themselves tied into that in the first place. But certainly we do need to see what we can do to make sure that actually we can get money, instead of going into this, going into some proper border security measures instead."

The Tories have accused them of having no real plan to stop the small boats.

Crossings are down by a third compared to last year, but still people are making the dangerous journey to get across the Channel.

Labour have said they want to put more cash into tackling smuggling gangs in Europe, and for police forces to work better across borders.

The Safety of Rwanda Bill passed through the House of Commons earlier this month after a huge Tory row.

11 backbenchers voted against it.

It will come back for another fight in the House of Lords from next week – where peers are expected to try and amend it.

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