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Suella Braverman’s Rwanda plans face crucial court test on Wednesday

The future of the Government’s flagship Rwanda policy faces a crucial test this week when the Supreme Court rules on its legality.

It was announced last Thursday that the Supreme Court would deliver its verdict on the legality of the Government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda next week.

The decision comes after the Home Office challenged a previous decision after the Court of Appeal ruled in June that the policy was unlawful.

There are suggestions that the Government is expecting that the judgment will not go in its favour, which will mean exploring other options ranging from tweaking the policy to abandoning it altogether.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under considerable pressure, however, to find a way to cut illegal migration to the UK, having made stopping small boats crossing the Channel one of his five key pledges to be achieved this year.

One avenue the Government could pursue if the policy is ruled unlawful is to strike a new deal with Rwanda, updating it from a memorandum of understanding with the UK to a treaty which would have to be ratified by MPs.

Another option is to pass a bill which designates Rwanda as a safe country, and insiders believe either of these moves could satisfy judges’ concerns and make the policy harder to challenge in the courts.

The Government could also expand the list of safe countries to which illegal migrants could be safely returned, with Georgia and India added to the list last week.

It’s widely believed that, if she remains in post, Ms Braverman will use a finding of unlawful to push for the UK to leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), a move backed by many Tory MPs on the right of the party.

The Home Secretary is said to pushing for the party to run a “Quit the ECHR” election campaign similar to Boris Johnson’s 2019 “Get Brexit Done” campaign, the Mail on Sunday reports.

But this stance could create further dividing lines between Ms Braverman and Mr Sunak, with the Prime Minister said to be in favour of tweaking the ECHR rather than abandoning it altogether.

The paper quotes a source close to the Prime Minister describing the ECHR as a “straitjacket” which “could be reformed to be less constrictive”.

Relations between the Prime Minister and his Home Secretary have been strained in recent weeks following her controversial comments describing rough sleeping as a “lifestyle choice” and pro-Palestine protesters as “hate marchers”.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the Rwanda policy could be a pivotal moment for her future in Cabinet.

If it is found to be unlawful, Mr Sunak may want to keep Ms Braverman in the Home Office as many MPs see her as best placed to lead on derogating from or abandoning the ECHR.

But, if Mr Sunak wants to take a more measure approach to appease the courts, he may choose to replace Ms Braverman with a more moderate figure in the next reshuffle, which is widely expected in the coming weeks.

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