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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
John Stevens

Suella Braverman wasting thousands of taxpayer cash flying to Rwanda for photo op

Suella Braverman is wasting thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ cash flying to Rwanda for a vanity photo op to promote her controversial immigration plan.

The Home Secretary is heading to the capital Kigali to drum up publicity for her bid to send asylum seekers there.

Her 4,000 mile trip comes 11 months after her predecessor made a high-profile visit to the African nation to sign off on the Rwanda scheme.

Despite already handing over £140million, not a single deportation flight has gone there.

Priti Patel travelled to Kigali last April to formally sign an agreement with the Rwandan government.

However, it has become tangled up in legal action.

Priti Patel flew to Kigali last April to sign the controversial Rwanda deal (EUGENE UWIMANA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Labour's Yvette Cooper accused Mrs Braverman of "flailing around trying to get a photo op to distract from her failure to tackle the problem".

The Shadow Home Secretary said: “The Conservative government has already written Rwanda cheques for £140milliom with more promised even though the Home Secretary herself admits that it is failing and the Home Office says there is a high risk of fraud.

“The Rwandan government have said they can only take 200 a year while 45,000 people came by small boat last year.

“Labour has been clear the Rwanda plan is unworkable, unethical and extortionately expensive and we would put the money into cracking down on the criminal gangs instead."

Mrs Braverman last week unveiled new legislation that will see thousands of desperate asylum seekers face being locked up on abandoned military bases for weeks on end.

The Home Secretary admitted the Illegal Migration Bill will likely be in breach of Britain's human rights obligations - but said she would push ahead regardless.

Former Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw accused the Tories of turning Britain into a "pariah". The Home Office is taking over two former military bases - RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire and RAF Wethersfield in Essex - to detain new arrivals.

Labour's Yvette Cooper warned the Rwanda scheme is 'unworkable, unethical and extortionately expensive' (Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock)

The new legislation will give ministers the power to lock people up without bail for 28 days, with the possibility to extend.

But questions remain over how the plan will work as ministers have nowhere to send those who arrive illegally on small boats.

Rishi Sunak has failed to sign a returns agreement with France while the Rwanda scheme is still being challenged in the courts.

The PM has said he is also planning a cap on the number of refugees welcomed here.

A record 45,755 migrants arrived in the UK after making the perilous crossing last year. More than 3,000 have already made the journey so far this year.

In the Commons last week, Mrs Braverman was accused of stoking tensions as she claimed: "There are 100 million people around the world who could qualify for protection under our current laws. And let's be clear, they are coming here."

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “Given the importance of the Rwanda partnership to the UK and our stop the boats policy, we would want to meet with the Rwandan government and discuss it further.”

The Home Office declined to comment.

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