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RISHI SUNAK was accused of misleading MPs today after it emerged the costs of the Rwanda deportation scheme had doubled to £290 million.
The disclosure sparked fury as the Tory government repeatedly failed to disclose the costings for their troubled flagship “stop the boats” policy.
It comes as the Prime Minister hopes to push emergency legislation through Parliament for MPs and peers to declare that Rwanda is by definition a safe destination after the Supreme Court ruled the scheme was unlawful over its risks to refugees.
Public accounts committee chairwoman Dame Meg Hillier said the disclosure only came after repeated inquiries and that it “almost looks like the government has got something to hide.”
A senior civil servant had said any extra costs on top of the £140m already paid to Rwanda would not be disclosed until the summer after Home Secretary James Cleverly signed the scheme in Kigali on Tuesday.
In a letter to committee chairs on Thursday evening, however, the Home Office’s top civil servant, Sir Matthew Rycroft, revealed that an additional £100m payment was made this year on top of the £140 million previously paid out.
He added that ministers expect to pay £50 million more next year, bringing the total to £290 million.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “This is just incredible.
“The Tories have wasted an astronomical £290 million of taxpayers' money on a failing scheme which hasn’t sent a single asylum-seeker to Rwanda.
“How many more blank cheques will Rishi Sunak write before the Tories come clean about this scheme being a total farce?”
Mr Sunak meanwhile faces dissent from its backbenchers and the prospect of a bitter parliamentary battle on Tuesday.
The new legal migration minister, Tom Pursglove, appointed after Robert Jenrick resigned saying the legislation was doomed to fail, suggested the government could be open to compromises.
Downing Street said the extra £100m payment, made in April, was signed off by sacked home secretary Suella Braverman and that it “was always set out that there would be funding attached to what is an economic and migration partnership.”
It also denied that Mr Sunak misled MPs over the cost of his troubled Rwanda plan.
Stand up to Racism’s Weyman Bennett said: “Double racism, double the cost, double the hypocrisy of a walking dead government that only sustains itself on hate and sadism.
“There is no policy, there is no plan, there is simply misdirection for the working class. They attempted to divide us by getting us to blame the most desperate refugees or people on benefits.
“It's the same old story of the ruling class. We must resist this at all costs, as it’s opening the door to the far right and to bigots.”
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