Truss insists Rwanda’s first ‘completely moral’ flight will take off with migrants

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The first flight returning asylum seekers to Rwanda will take off no matter how many people are on board, the foreign minister said, defending the policy as “completely moral”.

Liz Truss was unable to say how many people would be on the plane on Tuesday, as she insisted the program was both legal and “value for money”.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York added to strong criticism from opposition parties, calling the plan “immoral” and saying it “brings Britain to shame”.

But Ms Truss hit back, telling them to come up with their own policy, among suggestions the first flight could hold as few as seven people.

“We expect to send the flight later today,” she said.

“I can’t say exactly how many people will be on the flight, but the really important thing is that we establish the principle and start breaking the business model of these dreadful human traffickers who trade in misery. .”

When asked if there could be anyone on this flight, she replied, “There will be people on the flight and if they are not on this flight, they will be on the next flight.”

Pressed if it could only be seven people, she said: ‘I don’t have a figure.

“The important thing is the principle.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Justin Welby, has said the policy is ‘immoral’ (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Care4Calais, one of the charities that filed the rejected legal appeal to halt the flight, said only seven migrants who expected to be deported still had live tickets.

And three other challenges brought by people facing eviction are due to be heard in the High Court on Tuesday.

Ms Truss did not deny an estimate that a charter flight could cost £250,000, instead saying she ‘cannot put a figure’ on the expense.

Instead, she stressed ministers needed to ‘reduce the cost over time of illegal immigration’ as they struggle to crack down on small boat crossings of the Channel.

“It’s good value for money,” she insisted to Sky.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell said the policy “should put us to shame as a nation”.

“This immoral policy brings shame to Britain,” they said in a letter to The Times, also signed by the bishops of London, Durham, Exeter, Birmingham and Manchester.

Ms Truss told Sky: ‘I disagree with that, the people who are immoral in this case are the people traffickers who trade in human misery.

“These people need to suggest an alternative policy that will work.

“Our policy is completely legal, it’s completely moral.”

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