The Grand Migrant Hotel Rwanda

All are welcome at Kagame’s eccentric migrant hostelry, and don’t worry about the roving deathsquads: they’re harmless

“Enough is enough.” Rishi Sunak stood before us to tell us he’d reached his limit. Got to the end of his rope. Mad as hell, not going to take it any more. His wit’s end? He was there. He was seething with the pure anger of someone who’s just found a 12-year-old playing Xbox even though they haven’t tidied their bedroom.

What was the cause of this fury? “Last week, yet again, Labour peers in the House of Lords contrived to stop the Safety of Rwanda Bill,” he fumed. The fiends! How had this contriving taken place? Had they tied a junior minister to some train tracks? Dug a pit outside Parliament and waited for the bill to fall in? Far more dastardly than that — it seems they used the cunning device of voting to amend the bill.

Specifically, it’s in danger from Rwandan death squads

The Conservatives have 100 more votes in the Lords than Labour, but for some reason they can’t contrive to vote the amendments down, because close to a third of their people keep contriving not to show up. It would be interesting to hear why the Prime Minister believes that is happening, but sadly no one asked him.

Perhaps it’s because these Conservative lords think, in the words of Tory MP Andrew Mitchell, that the Rwanda scheme is “impractical, ineffective — and expensive”. That was two years ago, though, and since then, Mitchell has changed his mind. We know this because he was on the radio on Monday morning accusing people who thought that Rwanda’s human right’s record is less than perfect of being racists.

This was an insult, he said, to “the remarkable regime” of Paul Kagame. “It is absolutely extraordinary what the Rwandan government has achieved in all walks of life,” he said. “If you look at the statistics, Kigali is arguably safer than London.” This is true. Take, for instance, London resident Jonathan Musonera, who has been warned by the police that his life is in danger. Specifically, it’s in danger from Rwandan death squads. He wouldn’t, we can say with some confidence, be complaining about his safety, or anything else, if he were back in Kigali.

Mitchell didn’t explain exactly why his views of the deportation scheme had shifted between 2022, when he was a humble backbencher, and today, when he’s a Foreign Office minister attending Cabinet. Perhaps he read a particularly compelling leader in the Telegraph.

Anyway, he is in excellent company. The Rwanda policy is being pushed along by a Prime Minister who thought it was a waste of money and a Home Secretary who thought it was “batshit”. As with other key Conservative policies of recent years, the people who actually think it’s a good idea are unable to hold down government jobs, so it ends up being implemented by people who are devoting quite a lot of energy to not showing that they think this is all nuts.

Perhaps that explains why the Prime Minister was so grumpy. “Parliament will sit there tonight and vote no matter how late it goes,” he said. And if that means missing EastEnders, then tough. A Gold Command had been set up, he told us. Planes were booked, an airfield was on standby, 500 “highly trained individuals” were ready to wrestle asylum seekers onto the flights.

His friend Paul Kagame doesn’t have to put up with any of that nonsense.

“This is one of the most complex operational endeavours the Home Office has carried out,” he intoned. This was probably meant to sound reassuring, but that depended on your knowledge of the Home Office’s ability to carry out even really basic operational endeavours. It would be no surprise if in six months they turn out to have deported dozens of asylum seeker to the Rhondda.

“The first flight will leave in 10 to 12 weeks,” he went on, and here was the first hint that perhaps not everything was the fault of those wicked Labour lords. It’s only a couple of weeks since Sunak was promising the planes would take off in the Spring. Perhaps we can now expect emergency legislation pushing back the start of Summer until September.

Sadly, the Prime Minister couldn’t reveal any details of how many people would be deported, for what he called “sensitive operational details”. He explained: “There is a loud minority who will do anything to disrupt our plan.” It’s not clear who this is. Perhaps he fears that members of the Lords will lie on the runway, or that Supreme Court justices will superglue themselves to the planes.

Monday’s press conference was supposed to be an appearance from Dynamic Rishi — An Man Who Gets Things Done — with a side order of Firm Rishi — Who Isn’t Taking Any More Of Your Crap — but both these Prime Ministers were quickly overwhelmed, in the face of very mild questioning, by Snippy Rishi. Trying to sound forthright, he just ended up sounding annoyed.

Is the job getting to him? Maybe it’s just that, after weeks of studying the earthly paradise that Parliament will shortly declare Rwanda to be (terms and conditions apply), the Prime Minister has had enough of dealing with opposition parties and journalists and judges. His friend Paul Kagame doesn’t have to put up with any of that nonsense.

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