South Cumbria MPs have had a mixed reaction to the news that the Supreme Court has ruled the government’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful.

The Supreme Court has agreed with a Court of Appeal ruling which declared the policy leaves people sent to Rwanda open to human rights breaches meaning the policy cannot be implemented in its current form.

MP for Barrow and Furness Simon Fell said: “I think it’s right the prime minister has the time to consider today’s judgment and what the next steps will be.

“Crucially the Supreme Court, like the Court of Appeal and the High Court before it, has confirmed that the principle of sending illegal migrants to a safe third country for processing is lawful. This confirms the government’s clear view from the outset.”

Lord Reed delivered the Supreme Court’s verdict and said there were “serious and systematic defects in Rwanda’s procedures and institutions for processing asylum claims”.

The plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was first announced by Boris Johnson in April 2022 and the government has spent £140 million on the scheme.

MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale Tim Farron criticised the plans and said: “Not only was the Government’s Rwanda plan immoral, unworkable, and incredibly costly for taxpayers, but the Supreme Court has confirmed that it’s unlawful too.

“Due to this Government’s utter incompetence, we have a broken asylum system resulting in huge backlogs, and people fleeing war and persecution unable to seek sanctuary here.

“Until they set up safe and legal routes for people to apply for asylum, then we will continue to see people making these dangerous crossings across the channel in the months and years to come.”

In 2022, 45,000 people reached the UK in small boats. As of Sunday (November 12) the total number for the year so far is below 28,000.

Mr Fell added: “The British people have been unfailingly generous over the last few years, taking Ukrainians into their homes, accepting Hong Kong nationals fleeing persecution, and welcoming Afghans and Syrians following brutality in their own countries.

“Rwanda was about providing a robust deterrent to the malicious smuggling gangs that their business model would not work. When people know that if they come here illegally and they won’t get to stay then they will stop coming altogether, and we will stop the boats.”

The five judges at the Supreme Court on Wednesday (November 15) unanimously upheld an appeal court’s decision which said the policy leaves people sent to Rwanda open to human rights breaches and therefore cannot be implemented in its current form.