Rwanda: Public and commercial services union hopes to win legal action against government

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A union that is challenging the government’s controversial policy of deporting people to Rwanda said it hoped it could win an appeal to stop the first flight taking off this week.

A High Court ruling on Friday cleared the way for a flight to the East African country on Tuesday, but an appeal against the ruling is due to be heard on Monday.

The immigration policy has come under criticism from various groups, with even Prince Charles saying he is ‘beyond disappointed’ with it, amid reports that he has privately described the decision to sending migrants to Rwanda as ‘appalling’.

The boss of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which represents more than 80% of Border Force personnel, said the “legality of these proposals” must be tested, but added that there must also be debate “about the morality and lack of humanity shown by the government” with its approach.

Up to 130 people have been told they could be deported, and on Friday the London court heard 31 people were due to take the first flight, with the Home Office planning to schedule more this year.

The first complaint against the policy was filed by lawyers on behalf of some asylum seekers alongside the PCS, as well as the groups Care4Calais and Detention Action, which are challenging the policy on behalf of all those affected.

Judge Swift ruled on Friday against granting a temporary policy freeze until a full hearing next month, but allowed the plaintiffs to appeal his decision, suggesting that the Court’s judges d appeal would hear the case on Monday.

Clarence House has insisted Prince Charles ‘remains politically neutral’, despite reported private comments criticizing the policy (Hugh Hastings/PA)

PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “We hope we win tomorrow in the Court of Appeal to stop the theft (Tuesday).

“But, of course, the legality of these proposals will only be tested at the full hearing in July.

“We are absolutely confident that in July, in accordance with what the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) said very clearly in court, we believe that these proposals will be deemed illegal.”

He said Home Secretary Priti Patel would not ask civil servants to enforce the policy until its legality has been tested in court if she “had any respect, not just for desperate people who come to this country, but for the workers it employs”. .

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has defended the government’s policy, saying it aims to ‘break’ the smugglers’ ‘business model’.

When asked if he was personally comfortable with politics, he replied on the same program: “Yes, I am, in fact.”

He said: ‘The reality is that this is a policy that will ensure that modern slavery and these smugglers know that their criminal ways will be dismantled and that they will tell people around the world ‘if you are a refugee, if you are an asylum seeker, if you are a legal migrant coming to this country, we want to give you the support you need to help you become part of the British economy, the British way of life, that is whatever you want”, and it is true.

He said it would not be “appropriate” to comment on Charles’ “rumored” reviews.

A spokesperson for Clarence House insisted that Charles “remains politically neutral”, adding that “matters of policy are decisions for the Government”.

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