Priti Patel issued ‘ministerial instruction’ to push through Rwanda asylum plan despite officials’ concern, Sky News says | Political news


The interior minister has issued a “ministerial instruction” over the asylum plan in Rwanda, quashing concerns from his own officials, according to Sky News.

Ministerial Instructions are used when a senior official in a department has objected to the cost or feasibility of a spending plan.

A Home Office source said: “Home Office officials are clear that deterring illegal entry would create significant cost savings. However, such a deterrent effect cannot be quantified with certainty.

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Immigration Minister Tom Pursglove complains that there was

“It would be wrong to let a lack of accurate modeling delay a policy aimed at reducing illegal migration, saving lives and breaking the business model of smuggling gangs.”

The UK government is trying to crack down on Channel crossings by small boats and as part of the plans, the Home Office signed an agreement with Rwanda send migrants to this landlocked African country.


At its most basic, Ministerial Instructions are used when the government feels a situation is so critical that it is willing to risk taxpayers’ money being essentially wasted.

During the pandemic, instructions were issued for loan programs, despite civil service concerns about the risk of fraud.

The rationale was that the need to quickly disburse money to companies to prevent them from going bankrupt outweighed the magnitude of the potential losses.

Looking now at the billions potentially wasted in fraud, many may wonder if more caution should have been exercised.

The famous Eat Out To Help Out program also needed a directive to address objections of a lack of evidence to show that such a new policy would achieve its goals.

A similar rationale is advanced for passing the asylum partnership in Rwanda.

This ministerial directive does not mean that the civil service is against the policy, but it does show how much uncertainty there is that the plan will actually work.

Nor is it necessarily as damaging a development for the Home Secretary as his critics suggest.

Priti Patel is embracing her reputation as a steely minister bravely fighting civil service bureaucracy.

For those who sympathize with her cause, this may be just another example of one woman’s crusade against the Whitehall blob.

The Interior Ministry said on Thursday that the first people sent to Rwanda will be officially notified in the coming weeks, with the first flights taking place in the coming months.

The partnership would initially have cost £120million and Priti Patel told a press conference in Kigali on Thursday that the UK was making a “substantial investment” in Rwanda’s development.

Learn more about migrant crossings

What is a ministerial instruction?

The Ministerial Instructions have only been used 46 times since 2011, many of which were issued during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They have the effect of enjoining public servants to implement a policy despite the objection of the apolitical senior official of a service.

Read more:
Boris Johnson’s asylum plans were born out of political necessity and desperation

UK could send first migrants to Rwanda in ‘weeks’
How the UK’s ‘world’s first’ migration deal played out in Rwanda itself

This means that the minister becomes responsible for spending, rather than the public service.

Instructions were issued during the Eat out to help and the COVID-19 Rebound Loan Program.

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