Last night, Priti Patel’s first immigration trip to Rwanda was in jeopardy when legal action was filed against her.
An injunction has been requested to block Tuesday’s operation by a combination of charities and a trade union representing Border Force personnel. A judicial review of the policy is also being sought.
The legal manoeuvrings, along with a slew of appeals filed on behalf of individual migrants, are likely to cause the flight to be postponed until the concerns in court are resolved.
The actions demonstrate the breadth of resistance to the Home Secretary’s proposal, which she argues would save lives in the Channel and put a stop to people-smuggling gangs’ earnings.
It comes as migrants arriving in Dover may be moved to Zambia shortly after Zambia ‘expressed interest’ in the Rwanda programme.
Zambia is reportedly ‘potentially interested’ in signing a similar arrangement with the government, but is waiting to see how the Rwandan system works.
‘There are one or two countries, like Zambia, who are potentially interested,’ a source told The Telegraph.
‘They will wait and see what happens in Rwanda before deciding whether it is worthwhile and the political ramifications of it.’
However, officials at the Home Office revealed yesterday night that the prospects of the first aircraft to Rwanda setting off on schedule were now ‘slim.’
‘There is still a chance, albeit a low chance, that it will happen,’ one person added. ‘It’s still on until a judge says otherwise.’
‘It’s no surprise that Labour-supporting organisations and the civil service union are funding legal campaigns to try to cancel the first removal flight,’ a Tory source said.
‘They opposed the ending of free movement, and now they want to throw open our nation’s borders entirely.
‘They have no alternative to stop these deadly Channel crossings and it’s a shame to see members of the Labour Party standing with them.’