Priti Patel says migrants are ‘exploiting’ Britain as she launches fresh attack on European judges

The European Court of Human Rights last week banned a deportation flight to Rwanda just minutes before it was due to take off

Home Secretary Priti Patel

Priti Patel today accused Channel migrants of “exploiting our country” as the government launched a fresh attack on European judges.

The European Court of Human Rights last week banned a deportation flight to Rwanda just minutes before it was due to take off.

The chartered Boeing 767 cost an estimated £500,000 for a mission that never took place.

It is now unclear whether the Home Office will attempt to get another plane airborne for the 4,000-mile trip to Kigali before the outcome of a High Court judicial review of the controversial policy is due next month.

A Tory MP warned the Home Secretary the canal crossings show the government doesn’t control their borders.

Craig Tracey claimed: “When we went through with Brexit, we promised to take back ‘control’ of our borders.

“It was not just about ending freedom of movement, but also about taking action against small boat crossings across the English Channel.”

More than 300 people have made it to the UK after crossing the Strait of Dover – the world’s busiest shipping lane – in small boats over the weekend, the latest figures show.

The flight bringing asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda was grounded at the last minute following intervention by the European Court of Human Rights.


(Getty Images)

The Ministry of Defense confirmed that seven boats were intercepted in the channel and brought ashore.

321 people were rescued on Saturday, but there were no crossings intercepted and no one was brought ashore on Sunday.

Last week was the busiest week for channel crossings in recent weeks, likely due to warm weather and calm seas providing ideal weather conditions.

About 1,512 people were brought ashore after their boats were intercepted.

Speaking to Home Office questions in the House of Commons, Scottish Nationalists spokesman Stuart McDonald suggested the government wanted to ‘dump and offload’ canal migrants ‘thousands of miles away’.

He urged the Home Secretary to halt deportations to Rwanda pending the judges’ verdict, adding: “If she had even one iota of respect for the ECHR and the importance of the Refugee Convention, I am sure she would now confirm that she is on the outcome will await this hearing, rather than relying on another utterly reckless, humiliating and expensive attempt at these removals.”

Immigration Minister Tom Pursglove said the government was “determined to implement Rwanda policy”.

Migrants wave and gesture as they arrive at the port on the Border Force boat Valiant after attempting to cross the English Channel from France June 14, 2022 in Dover, England.


(Getty Images)

He added: “Despite the thorough deliberations and judgments of the national courts that dealt with the case, the off-duty judge of the European Court of Human Rights issued interim measures at the last minute.

“The government is asking the ECtHR to be more transparent about the reasons for its judgement.

“A full judicial review is expected to be heard in July.”

He claimed that every day the “partnership” with Rwanda “doesn’t work” is “a day people continue to risk their lives in the English Channel”.

Mr Pursglove warned: “This is not acceptable, it is not sustainable.”

Ms Patel insisted the policy is “absolutely about deterring these dangerous crossings and also people smugglers”.

She added: “We are a generous country and in order to keep it that way we must take measures to be fair to those who come to our country but firm to those who openly exploit our country.”

It comes as Prince Charles and Boris Johnson prepare to fly to Kigali for this week’s Commonwealth Leaders Summit.

The gathering is likely to be overshadowed by the plan to send migrants to the East African country.

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