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Rwanda could also be getting greater than £140m already paid – as House Workplace admits not realizing whereabouts of 17,000 asylum seekers | Politics Information

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Rwanda could also be getting greater than the £140m it has already been paid beneath the controversial deportation deal, regardless of no flights taking off, MPs have been advised.

Sir Matthew Rycroft, the highest civil servant on the House Workplace, hinted more cash can be spent however repeatedly refused to reveal the sum – saying ministers had determined they might not reveal that data till the summer time.

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He made the feedback throughout a clumsy look on the House Affairs Committee (HAC) which left MPs exasperated as he was unable to reply a lot of their questions, with Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson saying he “didn’t have a clue”.

The combative alternate got here after Sir Matthew and his House Workplace deputy made the admission that they have no idea what has occurred to round 17,000 asylum seekers whose claims have been withdrawn by the division.

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The session began with a grilling on whether or not the federal government in Kigali has obtained greater than the £140m beforehand given to them to deal with and course of deported asylum seekers.

Sir Matthew mentioned “there are extra funds annually” however “ministers have determined the way in which to maintain you up to date is yearly”.

He mentioned the £140m determine was for the 2022/23 monetary yr so something in 23/24 might be introduced “within the regular method within the subsequent annual report”, popping out subsequent summer time.

Labour chair of the committee Dame Diana Johnson mentioned his responses made it “fairly onerous to successfully scrutinise the flagship coverage of the House Workplace, and the way a lot cash is being spent on it, after we’re solely getting the figures on the finish of the yr”.

Sir Matthew mentioned it was the choice of ministers to replace parliament yearly “quite than giving a operating commentary”.

Labour’s shadow minister for immigration Stephen Kinnock described options that Britain may despatched more cash to Rwanda, regardless of no migrants being despatched there but, as an “affront to the hard-working British taxpayer”.

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Rwanda plan ‘most likely {dead}’

Officers engaged on ‘ending touches’ on new Rwanda deal

It has been greater than 18 months since the government first announced that it wished to deport anybody who arrives within the UK by unauthorised means to Rwanda to assert asylum there, not the UK.

However the scheme has been held up in the courts ever for the reason that first supposed flight was grounded on the eleventh-hour final June following an injunction from the European Courtroom of Human Rights (ECHR).

Earlier this month the plan was dealt one other main set-back as Britain’s highest court ruled it to be unlawful.

The Supreme Courtroom cited issues with Rwanda’s asylum system and mentioned there was a threat of refugees being despatched again to their nation of origin – one thing which is in opposition to worldwide regulation.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to see the plan by means of, nevertheless, and has introduced his intention to sign a new legally binding treaty with Rwanda to address the judges’ concerns.

Sir Matthew advised the HAC that officers have been in Kigali “as we communicate” and placing “ending touches” to the brand new deal.

Nevertheless, he mentioned he didn’t know the way a lot the federal government’s authorized battle to get it over the road had price and would reply to the committee at a later date. He additionally mentioned it was “not reasonable” to say what number of House Workplace officers have been engaged on the coverage as they “are doing different issues as effectively”.

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The backlog of asylum claims within the UK has hit a brand new file excessive, in response to House Workplace figures

House Workplace ‘would not know’ the place 1000’s of failed asylum seekers are

A number of MPs expressed frustration on the lack of element Sir Matthew, in addition to his second-in-command Simon Ridley, was in a position to present.

Conservative MP Tim Loughton appeared visibly shocked when it emerged the House Workplace doesn’t know what has occurred to 1000’s of asylum seekers whose claims have been withdrawn.

The 2 officers have been requested if it was “fortuitous” that, amid ongoing efforts to address the legacy backlog, 17,316 claims have been withdrawn between September 2022 and September 2023 – a 307% improve on the withdrawal fee for the yr earlier than.

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The senior Tory mentioned 5% of {cases} have been categorized on this method as a result of their declare was not substantiated however the remainder have been categorised as occurring “for different causes”.

Mr Ridley mentioned these have been asylum seekers who made a declare, have been invited to interview, however didn’t flip up so their {cases} have been withdrawn. He mentioned: “Generally I do not know the place these persons are.”

Hope Hostel accommodation in Kigali, Rwanda, where migrants from the UK were expected to be taken
Hope Hostel lodging in Kigali, Rwanda, the place migrants from the UK have been anticipated to be taken

Following a sequence of terse exchanges on numerous topics, together with Channel crossings and the price of the Bibby Stockholm contract, Dame Diana requested: “Do we now have any figures about something?” She mentioned it was “disrespectful to this committee you did not come ready”.

Proper-wing Tory MP Mr Anderson additionally misplaced his persistence when he was unable to get a determine on what number of rejected asylum seekers had been deported previously three years – excluding criminals and Albanians.

He mentioned: “I discover this totally staggering that the massive boss hasn’t obtained a clue, not simply on this query, however practically each different query we have requested immediately. Why is that?”

“Mr Ridley is searching for the numbers and we are going to ship them to you”, Sir Matthew replied.

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