Tory Minister Refuses 7 Times To Say If Any Airline Has Agreed To Fly Migrants To Rwanda

A Tory minister has repeatedly refused to say whether the government has an airline lined up to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Laura Farris was asked seven times on Sky News this morning but failed to give a straight answer.

Her clash with presenter Kay Burley came as the House of Commons overturned attempts by Lords to water down Rishi Sunak’s flagship Safety of Rwanda Bill.

The prime minister says the legislation is necessary to finally get flights carrying asylum seekers to the east African country off the ground, two years after the policy was first announced.

Burley asked Farris: “When will the planes go?”

The safeguarding minister replied: “I understand what you’re saying, that this has taken a long time. But the things that are holding us back are not operational logistics.”

Burley said: “So you’ve got an airline to take people now?”

The minister said: “When the legislation is through, we will be getting flights off as soon as possible, but it is not the operational logistics holding us up, it is the legislative logjam and that is being caused by the Lords, who have sent it back to us on more than one occasion.”

Trying again to get a straight answer, Burley asked: “So you do have an airline to take people?”

Once again, the minister dodged the question and said: “We have been planning for months, we are very close to being able to do this.”

The presenter then said: “So you almost have an airline to take people?”

Farris replied: “I’m not going to comment on the precise details, Kay.”

Asking for the fifth time, Burley said: “I’m not asking for precise details, I’m just saying is there an airline that will be taking people as soon as it becomes law?”

The minister said: “We are operationally very close to being able to do this.”

Later in the interview, Burley said: “If I could just press you finally on whether or not you have an airline in the wings that is ready to take people to Rwanda, or is it going to be the RAF?”

But Farris replied: “I’m not going to comment on specific details.”

Trying for a final time, the presenter said: “It’s not a specific detail, it’s have you got an airline in the wings? Is it going to be the RAF?”

Farris said: “We have operationally been preparing for this for months. It is not the logistics that are holding us back, it is the fact that the law is not on the statute book.”

The government bill will return to the House of Lords today, where peers are once again expected to make their own amendments to it.

However, the government is confident the legislation will finally pass this week, paving the way for the first flights to possibly take off in June.