The Government will press on with plans to send migrants to Rwanda despite Boris Johnson announcing he will leave office.
Downing Street confirmed the Home Office agreement with the east African nation remained and suggested attempts to once again get the first deportation flight off the ground could be made before a legal challenge against the policy is due to be heard on July 19.
Asked whether the Government would move ahead with the plan, even in the face of court battles, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This is a pre-agreed Government policy.
“Convention doesn’t prevent or preclude government from seeking to fulfil that policy and that would include defending cases in court as required.”
It is possible flights taking asylum seekers to Rwanda could depart before a judicial review, the spokesman said.
In April Home Secretary Priti Patel signed what she branded a “world-first” agreement to send migrants deemed to have arrived in the UK illegally to Rwanda.
The first deportation flight – due to take off in June – was grounded amid legal challenges.
More than 13,000 people have arrived in the UK so far this year after crossing the Channel from France, according to provisional government figures.
Steve Valdez-Symonds, from Amnesty International UK, urged the Government to re-think the “disastrous plan”, claiming it was “irresponsible and callous”, adding: “The UK government is so far removed from reality and lacking in humanity that they are not only destroying the asylum system but also people’s lives.”