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No deportation flights to Rwanda before July 4 snap elections: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

London: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that no deportation flights to Rwanda will take place before the July 4 snap election, reported Al Jazeera.
Sunak made this announcement during the first full day of campaigning on Thursday.
The Labour Party which is currently maintaining a commanding 20-point lead in opinion polls, has promised to scrap the deportation plan if it comes in power.
While speaking at a campaign event on Thursday, Sunak cast the policy as central to the political race, Al Jazeera reported.
Earlier in April, Sunak announced that there would now, be no delay in the flights to Rwanda and has promised to start sending asylum seekers there within 10 to 12 weeks.
British authorities commenced the detention of asylum seekers as part of the new initiative aimed at deporting them to Rwanda, with initial flights slated for departure as early as July.
"We've started detaining people ... the flights are booked for July, airfields on standby, the escorts are ready, the caseworkers are churning through everything, so all that is happening, and if I'm re-elected as your prime minister, those flights will go to Rwanda," Sunak said.
The deportation plan has been a flagship policy for Sunak since he took office in October 2022.
He has continued to champion it even after the UK Supreme Court in November ruled the plan unlawful on the grounds that Rwanda could not be considered a safe third country, reported Al Jazeera.
In response, Sunak signed a new treaty with the East African country and passed new legislation in June to circumvent the ruling. Nevertheless, more legal challenges remain possible.
Earlier this month, Labour leader Keir Starmer vowed to trash the plan, which has already cost hundreds of millions of pounds, "straight away" upon taking office.
However, the number of asylum seekers making the dangerous journey across the Channel has risen to record numbers so far in 2024.
Starmer also introduced a separate plan to launch a new border enforcement unit and tap counter "terror" powers to reduce the number of smuggling people.
Notably, immigration is expected to be one of the key issues in the election campaigns with the economy and the National Health Service's record waiting times also set to loom large, reported Al Jazeera.
The UK Prime Minister's decision to call the vote months earlier than expected came as a shock to some members of his party, with 14 years of at times chaotic Conservative rule leaving many in the country disillusioned.
Moreover, in opinion polls, Conservatives have lagged behind the Labour Party since Rishi Sunak replaced former Prime Minister Liz Truss following her resignation after just 44 days in office.

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