Why the legal battle around the government's Rwanda asylum plan will rage for some time

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana understands from sources that it will be highly likely no one will be onboard Tuesday's flight

The optics of the past few days - the Home Office pit against human rights lawyers - will not have surprised the Home Secretary Priti Patel

In fact, on the day her Rwanda policy was announced - she told MPs in a zoom call from the country- “ignore the leftie lawyers”. 

Her battle against them was on the front page of the Daily Mail on the day of local elections- and again last week. And she also knows they are far from done. The High Court has rejected two applications to ground tomorrow's flight - and the Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt to overturn one of those decisions.

But despite that - the number of individuals due to be on a flight - reportedly taking off from RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire - has dropped from 31 to 11- and now, reportedly, just 8. 

One Home Office source told me they thought that the number could be 0 by the time it's due to leave - saying that lawyers "are going to use every trick in the book to try to thwart the last people who are still on the flight". 

The source claimed that losing in the High Court and Court of Appeal would simply make campaigners more determined to take individuals off the flights. 

If they do - the Home Office will try again, and again. But the truth is that the real legal challenge isn't properly underway yet. 

The last few days have been about attempts to get an injunction to ground the plane - or planes if more are put in place - while the other legal arguments play out. It was calling for a temporary reprieve only. 

Jeremy Corbyn and demonstrators protest outside the Home Office in London against plans to send migrants to Rwanda. Credit: PA

One thing all judges were clear about was that this wasn't the "substantive" case. That is yet to play out. So the arguments we heard will come back - probably with more flesh on the bones, and more umph. 

They include an argument that this scheme carries a risk of "indirect refoulement" - which is where asylum seekers are forced to return to the country they fled.

Lawyers argued that Rwanda had a weaker asylum system that could result in that. The judges felt that wasn't a risk within the next few weeks and months - but did not rule on whether it might be, longer term. 

There is also the coruscating view of the UNHCR- the UN's refugee agency.

It claimed that not only was the Home Office wrong to claim it was involved in the scheme, but it thinks it's unlawful and an example of the UK "offshoring" it's international obligations when it comes to refugees. 

There could also be questions about efficacy - with scepticism over whether the policy will really work as a deterrent given a lack of evidence on that (in both directions). 

If Priti Patel is successful in getting some people to Rwanda she could yet have to bring them back if that bigger legal challenge rules against her. 

And it isn't just leftie lawyers who aren't convinced, many on the more liberal wing of the Tory party are deeply uncomfortable about this policy. 

But many others are not - and really believe it can work and is needed, politically.

I've lost count of the number of red wall MPs who've told me their constituents want this policy in place. And they are quite happy to keep pushing for it against those "leftie" lawyers. 

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