Rwanda may only take 'low' number of migrants despite £240m spent on deal

Rwanda may only take 'low' number of migrants despite £240m spent on deal

WATCH HERE: James Cleverly issues statement on migration

GB News
Oliver Trapnell

By Oliver Trapnell

Published: 31/01/2024

- 11:09

Updated: 31/01/2024

- 11:49

The Home Secretary did not put a figure on how many migrants could be deported

The number of asylum seekers being removed to Rwanda under Rishi Sunak’s £240million scheme could be “quite low”, the Home Secretary has conceded.

James Cleverly told the Commons Home Affairs Committee that the scheme remained “uncapped” with no upper limit.

But he refused to give a number on how many of the 33,085 people identified as potentially eligible for removal to Kigali will be sent there.

“The answer is entirely dependent on other work we’re doing in parallel,” he said.

James Cleverly and Border Force boat offloading illegal channel migrants

The Home Secretary did not put a number on the number of people who could be deported


“It may well be if we’re successful with returns agreements, if circumstances in other countries change, it may well be that the figure is quite low.

“It could be nearly at that figure, but the point is the number of people that we might send to Rwanda is entirely contingent on a whole set of other work that we’re doing.”

The UK has so far paid Rwanda £240million under the Prime Minister’s plan to “stop the boats”, but ministers have been warned Britain could be expected to pay an additional £50million next year.

No migrants who made unauthorised crossings have been removed because of the legal challenges that resulted in the Supreme Court finding the scheme unlawful.

James Cleverly speaking in front of Commons Home Affairs Committee

James Cleverly speaking in front of Commons Home Affairs Committee


The admission comes just a day after the Home Secretary met his French counterpart in Paris, and pledged to build closer ties to tackle crossings in the Channel.

Despite the pledge, more than 1,000 migrants have already arrived in the UK so far this year after crossing the Channel, in figures deemed “comparable” to last year.

Speaking to broadcasters in Paris, Cleverly said: “If you look at the figures, they are comparable, they are not what any of us would want to see.

“But it is also the case that just before these figures, we had an extended period of no crossings at all. And we will continue to make sure that the work that our French partners have done preventing attempted crossings will continue.”

Birder Force agents

No migrants have yet been Deported to Rwanda after a Supreme Court ruling


In a statement, the Home Secretary added: “The UK and France are friends, neighbours and partners. Our co-operation against the full range of security threats and challenges is vital for both our countries and for Europe.

“France is an essential partner to prevent illegal migration. The UK continues to support the challenges faced by French law enforcement, operating under increasingly difficult circumstances to save lives and disrupt organised criminal gangs. Their commitment is exemplary and the results are impressive.

“I want to thank my friend Gerald Darmanin for his continued leadership and support in tackling the small boat crisis and pledge to see our countries continue to work closely together, not least as France takes on the challenge of hosting the Olympics this summer.”

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