The government has suffered a serious setback over its proposals for asylum seekers to be processed in Rwanda. In a long-awaited ruling judges said the scheme was unlawful. Is it time to seek solutions elsewhere? One Kent MP says it is but the PM seems determined to keep the idea alive….
In politics, it is often a case of one step forward, two steps back. Or, if you are particularly unlucky, no steps forward but plenty of going back.
Rishi Sunak appears to be running on empty in the face of a hostile ‘blue on blue’ skirmish with the former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, whose three-page resignation letter had correspondents searching for the correct spelling of ‘excoriating’.
It’s not all been bad news - these things are relative - as the PM was able to hail that inflation had fallen and in doing so, he had met one of his key objectives for the economy.
The Prime Minister duly chalked that one up, making sure that we all knew that this meant he had fulfilled one of the five key pledges.
Then the former party leader Michael Howard popped up to say a few words on what he thought of PM Sunak (it was all good) but that seemed to be about it when it came to supplies of good fortune.
It was the judges’ ruling on the government's plans to have would-be asylum seekers processed in Rwanda that things began to get a little sticky.
The judges’ verdict left the Prime Minister a little underwhelmed; although it was not that the two countries could not proceed on the basis of their agreement which had been drawn up in good faith.
It was more that the judges were concerned that failed asylum seekers could end up being in a hostile environment of the sort that they were trying to escape from in the first place.
Even those MPs who had continued to champion the Rwandan solution seemed to lack the appetite for another round of hostilities in the courts.
Dover MP Natalie Elphicke threw in the towel saying that it is now time to move on and find another solution to the problem of small boats crossings.
“With Winter coming, the timing of this decision couldn’t be worse. Be in no doubt, this will embolden the people smugglers and put more lives at risk.”
Yes, even she seemed to think that the game was up but the PM clearly hadn’t given up all hope and said he was prepared to negotiate a new treaty with Rwanda.
The government's dilemma is that all the while that it might be in discussions with Rwandan government officials, the more the costs - not least in hotel accommodation.
There may or may not be a solution that satisfies all sides - there rarely is - but the public wants to see action even if that action has to be compromised.