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Senior Tories warn the flagship policy to deter people crossing the Channel in small boats must not be derailed again.

A landmark Supreme Court verdict on the legality of the scheme is now not expected until at least December, and Conservatives are demanding radical action to ensure the flights go ahead even if judges rule against the Government. 

They want Britain to work with other European countries battling people smuggling to secure changes to the European Convention on Human Rights so states are not blocked from protecting their borders. Rishi Sunak will also come under intense pressure to change UK law so Britain can press ahead with the Rwanda programme.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick, writing in the Sunday Express, insists the Rwanda scheme will "remove the incentive for illegal migrants to leave the safety of France in the first place".

"Labour would do away with all that and fling open our doors to hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants from the safety of Europe."

Tory MPs insist flights must start before the election expected in 2024. Former Brexit minister David Jones said illegal migration is the "single biggest national issue that is raised" by his constituents.

Demanding that planes take off as soon as the Supreme Court gives the thumbs-up, he said: "The flights should go on the very same day. It's extremely important.

"If people know they will not be allowed to remain in the UK but will be taken somewhere else for their application to be processed that will certainly put a lot of people off."  Story by David Williamson , Jonathon Walker, Daily Express

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