Boris swipes at Prince Charles over Rwanda migrant flights criticism

Boris takes a swipe at Prince Charles over his Rwanda migrant flight row criticism, insisting the government must ‘break the business model’ of people smugglers and ‘stop people breaking the law’

  • Boris Johnson staunchly defended government’s Rwanda migrant flights plan
  • The PM took a thinly-veiled swipe at Prince Charles over his apparent criticism
  • Mr Johnson said ministers must ‘break the business model’ of people smugglers 

Boris Johnson took a thinly-veiled swipe at Prince Charles today as he defended plans to send Channel migrants to Rwanda.

The PM hit out at ‘very active lawyers’ who have been trying to block the government from deporting the first batch to the African country.

Repeatedly asked about the Prince of Wales’s apparent view that the proposals are ‘appalling’, Mr Johnson insisted they were essential to ‘break the business model’ of people-smugglers.

Without directly criticising the heir to the throne, the premier said pointedly:  ‘What I don’t think we should support is continued activity by criminal gangs.’

He added on LBC: ‘I do think that it’s the job of Government to stop people breaking the law and to support people who are doing the right thing; that’s what we are doing.’

The Mail revealed over the weekend that Prince Charles has privately condemned the Rwanda asylum plan, saying giving Channel migrants a one-way ticket to Africa was ‘appalling’. Clarence House has stressed that the royal is politically neutral.

The tetchy exchanges with Mr Johnson came amid fears ministers could be blocked from putting Channel migrants on the first flight to Rwanda.

Home Office sources said human rights lawyers had tabled a ‘deluge’ of legal claims on behalf of 31 individuals due to be deported tomorrow.

They said there was a ‘real prospect’ the courts could delay the removal of all 31.

It means that even if the Court of Appeal today grants the Home Secretary the right to go ahead with the first removal flight, there may be no one to put on it. 


Repeatedly asked about the Prince of Wales’s (left) apparent view that the proposals are ‘appalling’, Boris Johnson (right in Cornwall today) insisted they were essential to ‘break the business model’ of people-smugglers

There are fears ministers could be banned from putting Channel migrants on the first flight to Rwanda

Mr Johnson told LBC the Government had expected that ‘very active lawyers’ would try to challenge the Rwanda policy.

‘We have always said that we knew that this policy would attract attacks from those who want to have a completely open-doors approach to immigration, who want people to be able to come across the Channel without let or hindrance,’ he said.

‘There are very active lawyers in this field. I have the utmost respect for the legal profession but it is also important we stop criminal gangs.’

Asked if the policy will be worth it if it results in just one person being removed, Mr Johnson said: ‘I think it’s very important that the criminal gangs who are putting people’s lives at risk in the Channel is going to be broken – is being broken – by this Government.

‘They are selling people a false hope, they are luring them into something extremely risky and criminal.’

Lawyers acting on behalf of the 31 migrants slated to be sent to Rwanda are said either to have lodged legal appeals or warned they would do so today.

‘We are getting claims from every single one,’ a source said. ‘In many cases they are making multiple claims under various bits of the Human Rights Act and modern slavery legislation. Over the weekend there have been new claims every hour and we expect more right up to when the flight goes.

‘We will operate the flight even if there is just one person on it, but there is a real prospect that even that might not be possible.’

Under the terms of the deal with Rwanda, those crossing the Channel illegally risk being given a one-way ticket to Kigali where they will have the chance to claim asylum in the African state.

Home Office sources said human rights lawyers had tabled a ‘deluge’ of legal claims on behalf of 31 individuals due to be deported tomorrow

Former security minister Sir John Hayes said it was ‘ethically the right thing to do, as well as being in line with public demands to take back control of our borders’.

‘I am sick to death of deranged do-gooders and fat cat lawyers frustrating government policy and the interests of the nation,’ said Sir John, who chairs the Common Sense Group of Tory MPs. ‘If we end up in a farcical situation where no one is allowed to get on a flight declared lawful by the courts because of spurious human rights challenges then we will have to repeal the Human Rights Act.

‘We are already committed to reforming it and we may need to go further. Every major policy this Government tries to pursue is getting caught up by the long tail of Blairism through legislation like the Human Rights Act.’

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