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Chris Mason: Home Secretary James Cleverly Heads to Rwanda to Sign Migration Treaty

James Cleverly is the third home secretary to roll up in Rwanda.

Home secretaries 3 — migrants 0 on that score.

Priti Patel, the original author of the idea, did the trip.

So too did Suella Braverman.

Now the turn of Mr Cleverly.

It was April of last year when Priti Patel headed to east Africa to make the case that the UK needed a new tool to drive down illegal immigration: the prospect of migrants being sent to Rwanda.

But here we are in the final month of 2023 and the policy isn’t off the ground, even if plenty of airliners with politicians on have been.

This time the plan gets the fountain pen and cartridge paper treatment – a treaty, an agreement between two countries recognised internationally.

It is the latest attempt to shove the whole idea into a place where it actually works and escapes the crippling judgements of an array of courts.

Let’s see if it is any more successful than everything else that has been tried.

The government’s mantra is big problems demand novel solutions.

More of the same will lead to more of the same: lots of crossings on small boats, when the promise is to stop the boats.

But the number of people Rwanda would ever likely take, if they ever do, is likely to be small.

And it is uncertain how much of a deterrent effect the prospect of being sent there will be.

It’s worth a try, say ministers. It’s a waste of time, say Labour.

A senior Labour figure who’s been doing a spot of maths texts me: “It’s one year, five months and 20 days almost to the hour since the first flight of asylum seekers was originally due to depart for Rwanda, before it was cancelled at the last minute.

“Since then, another 63,852 migrants have crossed the Channel in small boats.”

But it is an issue Labour could soon inherit if they win the election.

And those in government reckon they are doing everything Labour is suggesting they would do and more.

We now await the detail of what is on that cartridge paper, in the treaty.

James Cleverly will dash back home within seven or eight hours of arriving in Rwanda —and is expected in the Commons on Wednesday setting out the planned new law on the treaty.

Can it work? Will it work? And by when?

They are the three key questions at the heart of this.

Source : BBC