It has emerged the government spent £100 million in the 2023-24 financial year on the policy on top of the £140 million previously paid out. Ministers expect another £50 million cost in the coming year.
This is despite not a single flight having taken off for the east African country. Speaking to Sky News on Friday morning, Tom Pursglove defended the bill.
“When you consider that we are unacceptably spending £8m a day in the asylum system at the moment, it is a key part of our strategy to bring those costs down,” he said.
“I think this is the right investment to make that will help us to achieve those objectives of saving lives at sea, stopping people drowning in the Channel, as well as getting those costs under control in a way that I think taxpayers across the country would all want to see.”
One-way flights taking asylum seekers to Rwanda remain grounded amid a series of legal setbacks.
The figures were revealed in a letter from Home Office official Matthew Rycroft to the chairs of two parliamentary committees probing the policy.
Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “It’s basically £100m for every home secretary trip to Rwanda. Even by the standards of this chaotic and hopeless Tory government, this is unbelievable.”
This week, the Conservatives unveiled a bill that will let it ignore a part of the UK’s human rights law in order to send asylum seekers to Rwanda as part of Rishi Sunak’s “stop the boats” policy.
The legislation is designed to overcome a block by the UK Supreme Court on its Rwanda policy.
The court ruled last month that the plan was illegal because Rwanda isn’t a safe country for refugees.
It came after James Cleverly became the third home secretary to sign a deal with Rwanda, meaning the country’s foreign minister, Vincent Biruta, once again appeared alongside a Tory minister for a signing ceremony.