Text of the Prime Minister's speech this afternoon following the Rwanda supreme court judgement

"Good afternoon,

Today, the Supreme Court has judged that the Rwanda policy requires a set of changes in order to be lawful.

I do not agree with this decision,

but I respect it and I accept it.

The rule of law is fundamental to our democracy.

We have prepared for all outcomes of this case.

And so we have been working on a new international Treaty with Rwanda.

This will provide a guarantee in law that those who are relocated from the UK to Rwanda will be protected against removal from Rwanda. And it will make clear that we will bring anyone back if ordered to do so by a court.

We will finalise the Treaty in light of today’s judgement and ratify it without delay.

But we need to end the merry-go-round.

I said I was going to fundamentally change our country and I meant it.

So I am also announcing today that we will take the extraordinary step of introducing emergency legislation. This will enable Parliament to confirm that, with our new Treaty, Rwanda is safe.

It will ensure that people cannot further delay flights by bringing systemic challenges in our domestic courts and stop our policy being repeatedly blocked.

But of course, we must be honest about the fact that even once Parliament has changed the law here at home we could still face challenges from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

I told Parliament earlier today that I am prepared to change our laws and revisit those international relationships to remove the obstacles in our way.

So let me tell everyone now – I will not allow a foreign court to block these flights.

If the Strasbourg Court chooses to intervene against the express wishes of Parliament I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to get flights off.

I will not take the easy way out.

Because I fundamentally do not believe that anyone thinks the founding aim of the European Convention on Human Rights was to stop a sovereign Parliament removing illegal migrants to a country deemed to be safe in Parliamentary statute and binding international law.

And I do not believe we are alone in that interpretation.

Across Europe, other governments are following our lead. Italy, Germany, Austria, are all exploring models like ours.

Indeed, the UNHCR operates its own refugee scheme in Rwanda.

And unlike the UK, they don’t have a treaty for any of this.

We are a reasonable government and this is a reasonable country, but the British people’s patience can only be stretched so thin, and they expect the boats to stop.

That is why I made this one of my five priorities. And whatever our critics might say, we are making progress.

Because the Rwanda scheme is only one part of our strategy. Last December, the number entering the UK illegally in small boats had more than quadrupled in just two years.

Since then, they’re down by a third, even as the numbers entering the rest of Europe have soared with illegal crossings of the Mediterranean up by 80 per cent.

We’re ending the farce of taxpayers footing the bill to put illegal migrants in hotels, with 50 closures announced already, returning them to communities.

Illegal working raids are up by almost 70 per cent. And we have made over 5,000 arrests this year.

We’ve concluded returns and co-operation agreements with France, Bulgaria, Turkey, Italy, Georgia, and Albania.

We’ve cut legacy initial asylum backlog by almost two thirds.

And in total, we’ve returned over 20,000 illegal migrants this year.

The facts are clear: this government has done more and delivered more than any government in the last five years to tackle illegal migration. But to fully solve this problem, the Rwanda policy is a necessary deterrent.

That’s why it’s important that the Supreme Court has today confirmed that the principle of removing asylum seekers to a third safe country is lawful.

Because it means that when we have addressed the Supreme Court’s concerns people will know that if they come here illegally, they will not get to stay – and so they will stop coming altogether.

And that is how we will stop the boats.

In recent years, many people have lost faith in politicians’ ability to do the things they said they would do. They fear that politicians are now more interested in grandstanding than delivering for the British people.

I’ve been determined to change that.

To deliver on the commitments I make.

I committed at the start of this year to halve inflation.

Back then, inflation was 10.7%. But new figures, released this morning by the Office for National Statistics show that inflation is now 4.6%.

I am not saying the job is done.

Many people have struggled and continue to struggle.

We must stay the course until inflation returns to target.

But it shows that when I said we would halve inflation, I meant it.

When I said I would stop the boats, I meant it.

Today’s judgement has not weakened my resolve, it has only hardened it.

And we will deliver that too."

Rishi Sunak

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom


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