The UK government vowed on Wednesday to persevere with a controversial plan to send migrants to Rwanda, despite the Supreme Court upholding a lower court ruling that it was unlawful and should not go ahead.

In a major setback for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, a five-judge panel at the UK´s highest court unanimously sided with an earlier Court of Appeal decision that the policy was incompatible with Britain´s international obligations.In a 56-page ruling, the judges agreed that Rwanda was not a safe third country and there were “substantial grounds” to believe it could forcibly return asylum seekers and refugees to places where they could face persecution.But within hours of the long-awaited judgment, the government said it would press ahead with finalising a “new treaty” with Rwanda to address those concerns. Sunak also said he would introduce “emergency legislation” to parliament to designate Rwanda a safe country to end the “merry-go-round” of legal challenges.“I will not allow a foreign court to block these flights,” he told reporters, added that he hoped the first deportees would be sent “as planned in the spring” next year. Sunak said that if the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) “chooses to intervene against the express wishes of parliament, I am prepared to do what is necessary to get the flights off”.Earlier, newly appointed interior minister James Cleverly told MPs that a new treaty will “make it absolutely clear” to British and European courts that the Rwanda policy “will be consistent with international law”.

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