James Cleverly is travelling to Rwanda to sign a new treaty for the government’s asylum plan.
It is part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s mission to make the deal to send migrants there legally watertight following the Supreme Court’s ruling against the scheme.
In the wake of the judgement on 15 November the government insisted it had been working on contingency measures and promised a treaty with Rwanda within days, along with emergency legislation in parliament.
Mr Cleverly said Rwanda “cares deeply about the rights of refugees” and he looks forward to meeting counterparts and signing the deal.
The home secretary said: “We are clear that Rwanda is a safe country, and we are working at pace to move forward with this partnership to stop the boats and save lives.
“The Supreme Court recognised that changes may be delivered in future to address the conclusions they reached – and that is what we have set out to do together, with this new, internationally recognised treaty agreement.
“Rwanda cares deeply about the rights of refugees, and I look forward to meeting with counterparts to sign this agreement and further discuss how we work together to tackle the global challenge of illegal migration.”
There has been speculation Rwanda is pushing to get more money on top of the £140m already committed to the scheme.
The Sunday Times reported Kigali will be given a £15m top-up payment to agree fresh terms on its agreement with the UK.
Mr Sunak met Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame on the sidelines of the COP28 climate talks in Dubai on Friday, but declined afterwards to say how much more money he would spend to make the scheme a success.
Downing Street insisted there had been no demand for extra money from Rwanda, with the prime minister’s official spokesman saying: “Certainly I don’t recognise that figure of £15m, there’s been no request for additional funding for the treaty made by Rwanda, or not offered by the UK government.”
It comes after Mr Cleverly laid out his five-point plan to cut immigration, which included banning care workers from bringing their families over to the UK and raising the minimum salary required for a skilled worker visa.
Under his five-point plan, Mr Cleverly said he will:
• Stop health and care workers bringing their dependants to the UK;
• Increase the skilled worker earnings threshold by a third to £38,700, in line with the median full-time wage;
• Scrap “cut-price” labour by stopping shortage occupations being able to pay 20% less than the going rate and reforming the shortage occupation list;
• Raise the minimum income for family visas to £38,700 from £26,200 from next spring; and
• Ensure the Migration Advisory Committee reviews the graduate immigration route to prevent abuse.
He said the government would also increase the health surcharge this year by 66%, from £624 to £1,035.
Mr Cleverly said around 120,000 dependants accompanied 100,000 care workers in the year up to September.
“In total, this package, plus our reduction in students dependants will mean around 300,000 fewer people will come in future years than have come to the UK last year,” he told MPs.
Lee Anderson suspended from Conservative Party after ‘Islamophobic’ comments
Lee Anderson has been suspended from the Conservative party after ‘Islamophobic’ comments.
A spokesperson for Chief Whip Simon Hart said: “Following his refusal to apologise for comments made yesterday, the Chief Whip has suspended the Conservative whip from Lee Anderson MP.”
Speaking on GB News this week, Mr Anderson, MP for Ashfield, said: “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London… He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”
Earlier today Sadiq Khan accused the prime minister of being “complicit” in racism for failing to condemn Mr Anderson‘s comments that “pour fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred”.
Mr Khan said the claim by the former deputy chairman of Tory party were Islamophobic and sent the message that Muslims were “fair game” when it came to racism.
The remarks prompted criticism from Labour and some Tories, including former cabinet minister Sajid Javid who branded them “ridiculous”.
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King Charles shown chuckling at get well card featuring dog in a head cone
The King has been shown having a chuckle at cards sent by well-wishers, including one of a dog with the caption “at least you don’t have to wear a cone!”.
The 75-year-old monarch has been sent around 7,000 messages of support from around the world since his cancer diagnosis.
Newly released images and footage show King Charles looking through some of them at his desk in Buckingham Palace’s Belgian Suite.
He seemed particularly tickled by a card featuring an illustration of a terrier-like dog in a head cone, recovering from medical treatment.
Pets often wear plastic collars after an operation, to stop them aggravating a wound or stitches.
Other cards spread out in front of the King include one that reads “Your Majesty Get Well Soon”, while a number appear to be hand-drawn by children.
Many have related their own experience of cancer, with messages such as: “Chin up, chest out, remain positive and don’t let it get you down.”
“Never give up. Be brave. Don’t push your limits. Get Well Soon,” says one note from a child.
Those who’ve included their address will be sent a message of thanks.
The King was pictured reading the cards on Wednesday – the same day he met the prime minister for their weekly audience.
He told Rishi Sunak that he’d been “reduced to tears” by the public’s support.
“I’ve had so many wonderful messages and cards, it has reduced me to tears most of the time,” King Charles told the prime minister.
He added: “I hear there has been a lot more potential attention on those main, wonderful cancer charities, many of which I have been a patron of for years.”
The King had been mostly staying at the Sandringham estate in Norfolk following his first round of treatment in London.
Buckingham Palace announced on 5 February that cancer had been discovered while undergoing a procedure for an enlarged prostate.
The Palace has not released details about the type of cancer or the treatment.
Professional golfer Georgia Ball can ‘see the funny side’ after ‘mansplaining’ TikTok video goes viral
Professional female golfer Georgia Ball has said she can “see the funny side” after a video of an amateur player “mansplaining” to her about her swing went viral.
Ball, a certified PGA pro and instructor, also told Sky Sports she did not put the man in his place during the “awkward” conversation because she is a “humble person”.
The TikTok video of the incident she shared earlier this week has had more than 10 million views and over 26,000 comments, with many social media users mocking the man for “mansplaining”.
In the clip, Ball, who regularly shares instructional videos on her account, is seen practising her swing at a driving range near Liverpool.
A man off camera then says: “Excuse me, what you’re doing there, you shouldn’t be doing that… swing and follow through.”
He goes on to tell her that she is “too slow on the way up”.
Ball explains she is going through a “swing change” – something golfers regularly do to improve their technique.
However, the man continues: “I know, but what you’re doing there is you’re coming back too slow.
“I’ve been playing golf for 20 years, what you need to do is follow through a lot quicker than what you’re doing there right now.”
She explains again that she is going through a swing change, but the man continues to advise that she needs to move her club quicker.
Ball then cleanly strikes the ball into the distance before the man says: “See how much better that was?”
The professional golfer explains once again that she is practising a swing change, before the man repeats that he “has been playing for 20 years” and that she should carry on playing the way he has advised her to.
Ball then laughs, before sarcastically adding: “Thanks for your advice.”
Asked by Sky Sports how she felt during the interaction, Ball said: “It was an awkward conversation at the time but I was just concentrating on what I was doing… I am glad I can look back on it now and see the funny side to it.”
When asked if she was ever tempted to put the man in his place, she said: “To be honest, I am a humble person, it is not in me to call him out or say I am a PGA pro, it is just not in me to do that.”
Ball added that she never got the chance to see the man hit a ball, so was unable to pass comment on his swing.
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