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Boris Johnson’s Rwanda showdown with Charles – as post-election threats mount at home

It will be the first time the two have met since explosive reports that the Prince of Wales called the politics “appalling”.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the Prince of Wales in Glasgow last year

Boris Johnson faces showdown talks with Prince Charles after his plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda sparked outrage.

The pair are set to meet at the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in the capital Kigali – where tomorrow the prime minister’s jet lands to spark an eight-day diplomatic whirlwind.

The summit is a few miles from the hostel where asylum seekers were set to be evicted from the UK as part of a £120million deal.
But the embarrassed prime minister has no plans to visit the site after the first deportation flight was banned by the European Court of Human Rights.

It will be the first time the two have met since explosive reports that the Prince of Wales called the politics “appalling”.

Clarence House has neither confirmed nor denied the private comments, which include saying the heir was “beyond disappointed”.

Government sources expect the couple to have a face-to-face “side call” on the sidelines of the summit, the first since June 3.

“They will meet, of course they will meet during the summit, but they are also supposed to hold bilateral talks,” said the prime minister’s official spokesman.







The flight bound for Rwanda was grounded after a legal challenge
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Picture:

Adam Hughes / SWNS)

Sources insisted their talk would likely focus on the summit’s priorities, including the war in Ukraine, trade and investment, climate change and girls’ education.

But there was widespread outrage over deportation flights, each costing up to £500,000 – and fears over Rwanda’s human rights record.

Hours before his departure, Mr Johnson vowed to continue flights and change UK law so he could ignore the European Court of Justice in future.

He slammed his opponents’ “condescending attitude” towards the Rwanda plan – but insisted he was “looking forward” to seeing Prince Charles.

Before leaving for Rwanda, the Prime Minister said his trip will “help us all to understand for ourselves what this partnership has to offer, what Rwandans have to offer and maybe help others to shed some of their condescension towards Rwanda and how this partnership could work.”

He added: “I’m aware I’ll arrive before anyone who has traveled illegally across the Channel arrives, I can’t deny you that fact, there it is, but it’s still the case that no British court is ours declared the plan illegal, and no international court has declared our court illegal either.”

Asked if Prince Charles – who reportedly described the policy as “appalling” – was one of those “condescending” people, the Prime Minister replied: “I have no evidence to back up the allegation you just made about the Prince’s comments . I can not confirm.

“What I can say is that I think the policy is sensible and measured and that it is a plan to deal with the grotesque abuse of innocent people crossing the English Channel.”

He added: “I’m really looking forward to seeing him”. But when asked if he would address the prince’s comments, he said: “You wouldn’t expect me to comment on conversations that may or may not take place”.

The Prime Minister will land in Kigali tomorrow morning with his wife Carrie at the start of eight days of diplomacy.

After three days in Rwanda, he jets off to the G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps and then to the NATO summit in Madrid.

But two by-elections 5,000 miles away could decide his future – with results due hours before he speaks at tomorrow’s (FRI) CHOGM opening ceremony.

The polls open at 7am tomorrow in Wakefield, which Labor is expected to regain. And the Lib Dems claim they could topple Tory Neil Parish’s 24,000 porn-watching majority in Tiverton and Honiton.

The loss of both by-elections would spark a fresh wave of Tory anger less than three weeks after the Prime Minister survived a no-confidence vote.

Mr Johnson will miss PMQs and all UK Tory meetings after the result. When asked if the by-election would affect the prime minister’s standing in his party, his spokesman replied: “We continue to focus on issues that are important to the public.”

CHOGM is the first gathering of the 54 Commonwealth nations – of 2.5 billion citizens – in four years after Covid twice postponed it.

Mr Johnson is due to meet Rwandan President Paul Kagame tomorrow as the Prime Minister passes the baton of the Commonwealth Presidency.

But No10 admitted he would likely raise human rights concerns – despite the UK sending its asylum seekers to Rwanda.







Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame
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Picture:

SIMON WOHLFAHRT/AFP via Getty Images)

Ahead of the summit, 24 groups warned the Rwandan media and civil society of “relentless harassment, attacks and threats” and “unlawful detention and torture are widespread”.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said: “As always, one would expect the Prime Minister to raise human rights issues.

“We want Rwanda to uphold and defend Commonwealth values ​​– democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights. And we want fair trials for all detainees and fair and transparent application of the rule of law.”

The Prime Minister will visit a school and the nation’s genocide memorial tomorrow before Friday’s summit is officially opened by Prince Charles – who will represent the Queen and will succeed her as head of the Commonwealth.

Leaders will consider Togo and Gabon’s bids to join the Commonwealth at a retreat outside the capital on Saturday.

The Prime Minister is to announce “Platinum Partnerships” to boost trade with key Commonwealth nations to mark the Queen’s Jubilee.

He will also say tariffs on food, clothing and other items will be reduced by £750m a year in 18 countries under a new trading scheme for developing countries.

And the UK is set to announce £124m for the modernization of Guyana’s Georgetown Public Hospital, which will create 256 new beds.
British officials downplayed reports a wave of nations could leave if Charles takes over from the Queen as head of the Commonwealth.

They pointed out that Barbados became a republic last year – but remained in the organisation.

More than 40 of the 54 leaders are expected to attend the summit, but India’s Narendra Modi and New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern will not attend.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-boris-johnson-flies-rwanda-27304213 Boris Johnson's Rwanda showdown with Charles - as post-election threats mount at home

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