Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

The unwillingness of commercial airlines to take part in the scheme means the RAF may have to step in (Picture: PA/Getty)

The British government insists it has ‘robust plans’ to keep its Rwanda asylum policy afloat amid reports commercial airlines have shunned contracts for the scheme. 

According to The Sunday Times, not a single firm has yet signed up to fly migrants to the East African country, for fear that being associated with the Tories’ highly controversial proposals would damage their reputations. 

Sunak’s administration reportedly nevertheless claims that flights will definitely be available should the plans go ahead, with the newspaper adding that the Ministry of Defence or even the RAF will likely step up if a contractor is not found by the time the scheme is operational. 

A government spokesperson said: ‘The government is committed to doing whatever it takes to stop the boats and get flights to Rwanda off the ground as soon as possible.

‘Rwanda is ready to welcome large numbers of people and we have robust plans in place for future flights following discussions with a range of companies.’

It follows after the House of Commons voted to pass the immigration plan on Tuesday. 

The government has doubled down on its flagship asylum policy after it was ruled to be unlawful by the Supreme Court last month.

James Cleverly had to face the consequences of the Supreme Court’s ruling just days after becoming home secretary (Picture: Pixel8000)

Critics have viewed this most recent move as an attempt by Sunak to distract voters from his failures in other policy areas and increasingly shaky grip on his party’s leadership. 

Though the law, slammed as inhumane by campaigners, passed with a comfortable majority of 44, many among the Conservative party’s hard-right factions believe its provisions were not robust enough.

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The Sunday Times also reports that if and when the scheme is up and running, flights will take off from an airfield in Boscombe Down, just north of Salisbury in Wiltshire. 

It is understood the site will require considerable investment in order to improve fencing and security.

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