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Politics latest: Humza Yousaf asked if ‘breaking up is better than being dumped’ as he confirms deal with Greens scrapped


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By Michael Drummond, foreign news reporter

The government’s Rwanda bill has now become law after receiving Royal Assent.

So what is the scheme and why is it so controversial? Here are some of the key questions, answered.

What is the Rwanda asylum plan?

Rishi Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats” is one of five pledges he has staked his premiership on.

Key to this is the Rwanda scheme, which would involve some asylum seekers being sent to Rwanda to have their asylum claims processed there.

If successful, they can be allowed to stay in Rwanda or seek asylum in another country. But they would not be able to apply to return to the UK.

Ministers say the policy will act as a deterrent to people thinking of travelling to the UK “illegally” (though whether or not crossing the English Channel in a small boat is actually illegal is complicated).

Why haven’t any planes taken off already?

The first plane carrying asylum seekers could take off in 10-12 weeks, the prime minister said ahead of the law passing, in what is another delay, having initially promised this would happen in the spring.

This would be more than two years since the first flight attempted under the deal was grounded amid last-minute legal challenges.

No asylum seekers have yet been sent to Rwanda.

While he refused to go into “sensitive” operations details on Monday, Mr Sunak did outline a number of measures the government was taking to prepare for the first flights to take off.

He said there were now 2,200 detention spaces and that 200 dedicated caseworkers had been trained to process claims quickly.

Around 25 courtrooms have been made available and 150 judges will provide 5,000 sitting days, he added.

Mr Sunak also said there were 500 “highly trained individuals ready to escort illegal migrants all the way to Rwanda, with 300 more trained in the coming week”.

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