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Government plans Rwanda flights, may use RAF Voyagers

  1. Government considers using RAF for Rwanda deportation flights
  2. Minister hints at RAF Voyager involvement in deportation scheme
  3. Legislative hurdles persist for Rwanda deportation policy reinstatement

The government’s use utilization of RAF aircraft in the contentious deportation scheme remains unconfirmed despite the Home Office’s inability to secure an airline to charter the flights.

A minister stated that the government is “working on operationalizing” Rwandan flights in response to rumours that RAF aircraft may have been utilized in the disputed deportation scheme.

Laura Trott refrained from denying a report in The Times that migrants could be flown to the East African country on RAF Voyagers because the Home Office has been unable to locate an airline prepared to transport them.

Laura Farris, a Home Office minister and colleague of the Treasury minister, stated that the government is “operationally close to being ready” on Tuesday, as the Treasury minister referenced.

Ms. Trott stated, “I believe I will be able to reiterate what she said to you yesterday: We are in the process of operationalizing this, but we will not elaborate on the specifics of how that will be accomplished.”

When asked whether RAF Voyagers would be utilized, she responded, “Once the legislation is passed in the spring, we will be prepared to begin operations.”

She responded to the observation that we are approaching May by stating, “Spring has many different meanings, but we hope to implement them as quickly as possible.”

The Voyager, the only air-to-air tanker in the RAF, can also provide strategic air support.

Rishi Sunak is reportedly nearing the deployment of a fleet of these aircraft for the deportation scheme, as reported by The Times.

The prime minister declined to remark on the report, stating on Wednesday to broadcasters, “Once it is official, we will make every effort to ensure flights to Rwanda resume.”

“We make no apologies for pursuing audacious solutions to stop illegal migration, dismantle people-smuggling gangs, and save lives,” a government spokesperson said last night.

We possess comprehensive operational strategies to initiate flights to Rwanda.

The haste to locate aircraft occurs as the measure to reinstate the policy continues to be contested in parliamentary “ping pong” following a fresh setback by the House of Lords on Tuesday.

This week, Downing Street hopes to have the legislation signed into law that designates Rwanda as a secure country and prohibits the deportation of asylum seekers based on safety concerns.

Following the November Supreme Court ruling that the plan to transport passengers to Kigali on a one-way flight was unlawful, the bill was introduced.

But vehement opposition has been encountered within the House of Lords.

Peers have insisted on amendments that permit them to intervene and restore the jurisdiction of domestic tribunals regarding Rwanda’s security.

The measure should also be designed to ensure that human rights and modern slavery legislation, among other significant domestic and international laws, are given “due regard” by its peers.

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Furthermore, they have supported the stipulation that Rwanda can only be regarded as a secure nation once an autonomous monitoring organization has substantiated the complete implementation and maintenance of the safeguards outlined in the treaty.

Their insistence on the safeguards, which were rejected by Members of Parliament in the House of Commons, has caused the bill to become mired in a “ping-pong” process—a legislative impasse in which the two chambers debate the legislation until a wording accord is reached.

The latest government setbacks require MPs to debate the proposed law once more on Wednesday before it is retransmitted to the House of Lords.

Before its implementation two years ago, then-prime minister Boris Johnson introduced the Rwanda policy as a preventative measure against Channel crossings.

With his premiership predicated on “stopping the boats,” Mr Sunak is under pressure to get it moving before the upcoming general election.

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