BOris Johnson said she was “aware” that she had traveled to Rwanda before any of the government’s migrant flights arrived in the country, while advocating her “offshoring” policy.
The prime minister has just landed in Kigali while attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).
Speaking to reporters as he prepared for his flight, Johnson said: “I am aware that I am arriving before anyone who has traveled illegally across the Channel, I cannot hide that fact from you – there it is – but it is still the case that no UK court and no international court has found our plan illegal”.
The UK struck a partnership deal with Rwanda two months ago to allow the government to deport immigrants arriving in the UK illegally.
But the policy was the subject of repeated legal challenges and the first flight to Rwanda was stopped after intervention by European judges.
The government remains firmly committed to the policy and Johnson said his visit to Rwanda is an opportunity “for all of us to understand for ourselves what this partnership has to offer”. He added: “We hope to perhaps help others to let go of some of their condescending attitudes towards Rwanda and how this partnership can work.”
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