Brandon Lewis: Rwanda policy will stop criminal gangs exploiting refugees

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Brandon Lewis: Rwanda policy will stop criminal gangs exploiting refugees
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Brandon Lewis has insisted the UK’s controversial Rwanda refugee policy will prevent criminal gangs exploiting vulnerable people and help to stop modern slavery.

Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge, the minister welcomed the decision from the high court to allow the first of the flights to Rwanda to go ahead.

The minister also said the policy was “a huge credit” to the Prime Minister as the Government attempts to control the flows of illegal migrants entering the country.

He said: “I think its very good that we won that court case, that’s one stage of the process.

“Underlining this is a policy that is a huge credit to the prime minister and the home secretary who are taking this forward, because it is one that makes it very clear to these abhorrent people who run these modern slavery schemes and these treacherous runs across the Channel that this business model will not work – and must be broken.”

Although the policy has drawn criticism, Mr Lewis said the Government will always provide support to those who enter the UK through legal routes.

Asked on Prince Charles’ criticism of the policy, something the royal has allegedly labelled as “appalling”, Mr Lewis labelled the remark as speculation and rumour.

On Friday, a high court judge said the first flight can go ahead on Tuesday after campaigners lost a bid to block the Government’s plan to fly the migrants out of the UK.

Migrants, campaign groups and a union had asked judges to block the upcoming deportation flight which is a one-way ticket to the east African nation as Home Secretary Priti Patel plans to try and curb Channel crossings.

Up to 130 people had been notified they could be removed.

The court heard 31 people were due on the first flight on Tuesday, with the Home Office planning to schedule more this year.

Lawyers for almost 100 migrants had submitted legal challenges asking to stay in the UK with the remaining anticipated to follow suit.

The first stage of action was brought on Friday by lawyers on behalf of two migrants alongside the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), which represents more than 80% of Border Force staff, as well as groups Care4Calais and Detention Action who are challenging the policy on behalf of everyone affected.

Judge Mr Justice Swift ruled against the claim.

He said: “I do not consider that the balance of convivence favours the grant of the generic relief.”

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