ishi Sunak has suggested that flights to Rwanda carrying illegal migrants might not seize off by this summer.
Speaking to the Commons Liaison Committee on Tuesday afternoon, the Prime Minister said that flights to the African country would only seize space “once the legal process” has been worked through.
Home Office sources had previously briefed the Telegraph that ministers were “working towards getting the flights off by the summer” and that leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) would not be ruled out.
The Prime Minister was also quizzed on efforts to terminate the ongoing junior doctors pay dispute ahead of a planned four-day strike in April.
Mr Sunak said the industrial action called by the BMA could impact on the government’s waiting list target.
He declined to set out how much modern funding will be made available for pay rises given to terminate strikes from NHS workers, saying he “doesn’t want to obtain in the middle of” negotiations between the Treasury and Department of Health and Social Care.
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Northern Ireland ‘needs and deserves power sharing’
Mr Sunak says he remains “hopeful that we can continue to gain dialogue with all the parties in Northern Ireland”.
Stormont does not currently gain a Government as the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has refused to join a power-sharing arrangement with Sinn Fein.
Mr Sunak said that power-sharing is “what the people of Northern Ireland need and deserved”.
“As we arrive up to the anniversary of the apt Friday Agreement, it’s a apt reminder of how hard-fought these institutions are and we should give them every chance of succeeding in future.”
Sunak: Northern Ireland will gain a say on laws
Mr Sunak says that the Windsor Framework will enable Northern Ireland to gain a say on its own laws.
“The entire thing is subject to a consent vote, so any of this is only there with the overall consent of Northern Ireland,” he said in response to Sir Bill Cash.
“Stormont will be able to gain its say and will be able to block them.”
Brexit will bring economic opportunities, says Sunak
Mr Sunak is asked by the SNP whether he believes trade agreements gain “puny” impact on economic growth and whether they will rebalance the damage caused by Brexit.
He says: “I’m surprised you’re having a depart at freeports as we gain just announced two with the Scottish Government.
“There are many opportunities from Brexit: trade deals and freeports are among them.”
Sunak refuses to condemn Braverman’s use of ‘invasion’ to portray migrants
Mr Sunak is asked about Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s comment that the phrase “institutionally racist” to portray the Met Police is “politically charged” – but not her use of the phrase “invasion” to portray migrants arriving on small boats.
He responds: “The findings of the Casey report are shocking and appalling and it’s accurate that action is taken.
“It’s clear that the scale of the small boats predicament is growing. What I would say is the situation is one that is growing and significant and it’s accurate that we seize action.”
Asked whether the dialect could inflame the far accurate, he responds: “What matters are actions and that is what we’re doing.”
Sunak does not rule out leaving ECHR
Mr Sunak does not rule out leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if it prevents the Government from enacting its small boats policy.
“We believe our Bill is compliant with the EHCR. That is the Government’s view.”
Sunak: Rwanda policy will only act as deterrent ‘once legal process is completed’
Mr Sunak is asked whether the Rwanda policy is acting as a deterrent, with large numbers of people still arriving in the UK on small boats.
He responds: “We need to let the legal process play out. Only after the legal process has been completed that we can practically start the flights to Rwanda. At that moment you will start to see a deterrent.
“But it’s accurate that we backdated the legislation, as otherwise you’d create a surge of people.”
UK ‘still committed to Afghanistan’
Mr Sunak is asked why the UK is cutting aid to Afghanistan as the country suffers under Taliban rule.
He responds: “We are one of the largest spenders on aid anywhere in the world. Our track record on this is very strong.
“With regard to Afghanistan in particular, we are a leading donor and gain committed £200m to the country.”
PM: Asylum system must target most vulnerable
Ms Nokes asks about migrants from Afghanistan who may gain been able to arrive to the UK on the ARAP scheme.
The PM says the Government will be table to talk to those eligible and “bring them here in a safe way”, noting that 22,000 gain already arrive to the UK through the scheme.
“It’s accurate that we gain a migration system and asylum policy that targets our generosity and resources on the most vulnerable, accepting that we will never be able to bring everyone here who would like to be here.”
“At the moment we gain tens of thousands of people coming here illegally.”
He declines to comment on a report cited by Ms Nokes on an Afghan man eligible for ARAP who was recently told he will be deported to Rwanda.
Families will not be separated on arrival to UK, Sunak says
Mr Sunak says that families will not be separated if they arrive in Britain and that separate accommodation will be available.
Asked how many centres are available to families to stay in, he responds: “At the moment there are a few thousand places and more are being built. A full team at the Home Office is working on the Bill.
“The policy purpose is not to detain children, but it’s critical that we don’t create a policy that incentivises people to bring children here.
“You create an incentive for a criminal gang to disclose people to bring a child with them.”