Britain is preparing for the next deportation flight to Rwanda – but Top Tory won’t say when

Therese Coffey said ministers were “very confident” the next flight would take place after late intervention by the European Court of Human Rights

The UK will fight an eleventh-hour court ruling that blocked Boris Johnson’s controversial plan last night to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, a top Tory leader has said.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said ministers are already preparing for the next flight – but she could not say when it would take place.

The first plane carrying asylum seekers to Rwanda was grounded shortly before scheduled takeoff after a bombing intervention by European judges.

It came after a day of protests by activists, charities and religious leaders who have branded the plan as immoral and cruel.

The injunction has enraged ministers and prompted Tory calls to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

But Ms Coffey tried to downplay hints the government intended to back out of the convention – something the Prime Minister hinted at on Tuesday.

Therese Coffey said she was “very confident” the flight would go ahead


Agency Anadolu via Getty Images)

“At the moment I am not aware of any decisions or even indications of them,” she told Sky News.

“The most important thing is that we address this issue now. I am sure we will return to the ECtHR to challenge this original judgment.”

The cabinet minister said the government was “surprised and disappointed” by the verdict.

“The government is disappointed with the decision. I have never seen such a quick decision from anyone at the ECtHR. I think the public will be surprised if European judges overrule British judges,” she told Sky News.

“Nevertheless, I know that the Home Office is already preparing for the next flight and we will continue to prepare and try to overturn any future legal challenges as well.”

When asked if she was confident the next flight could go ahead, she said: “I’m very confident.

Protesters on the edge of MoD Boscombe Down near Salisbury



“This decision was made at breakneck speed yesterday. Consequently, it is right that the government continues to try to ensure that we prevent unsafe, illegal entry routes into the country, because the only people who benefit from this are ruthless traffickers, who often try to enslave people as well.”

She refused to say when the next flight would be, saying she “won’t get into operational talks”.

Shadow Secretary of State David Lammy branded the plan a “mess”.

He told Sky News: “Look, this is a mess that Priti Patel has made. She was told the system was dysfunctional, unethical and costing an extraordinary amount of money.

“It was very unlikely that they would be able to get a system up and running as soon as possible because the Israelis tried and failed, the Australians tried and failed.

“So she was warned about it. And of course we are in this situation now.”

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