Rwanda policy popular with Tory voters but inside government there are big worries about cost
ITV News Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana sums up the mood within government after Tuesday night's flight was called off
For the Home Secretary Priti Patel the optics of Tuesday night were not politically unhelpful. She always thought there was a good chance the plane would be grounded - Home Office sources told me on Monday that it was "highly likely" that would happen. For it to be grounded because European judges had stepped in at the eleventh hour plays extraordinarily well to the right of her party, and to Conservative voters. Polling that I'll be delving into on ITV's Peston show on Wednesday night shows how wildly popular the Rwanda policy is with Tory voters (while Labour and Lib Dems really, really don't like it). Now sources in the Home Office deny that they are happy with this outcome because of the politics - insisting they simply want the planes to go because they believe that will provide a deterrent to others crossing the Channel.
Speaking on Peston, Attorney General Suella Braverman said she could not rule out the UK withdrawing from the European Court of Human rights.
I asked why they didn't wait until late July when the legal challenge to this policy will be heard (the last few days have all been about temporarily halting deportations to allow time for that substantive court case to go through) and they said it was their certainty that the policy is lawful. But there are some in government who see this as politics - and who are not at all convinced about the policy- and I'm now hearing about pretty big worries about the cost of it - including inside the Home Office.
I revealed in April that this policy had resulted in the unusual step of Ms Patel having to issue a "ministerial direction" for the policy to proceed.
That meant that the most senior civil servant in the Home Office (permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft) refused to directly sign the policy off because he wasn't convinced that its value for money had been proved.
He said - in a letter to Ms Patel - that there wasn't the evidence yet to back up the idea of a deterrence effect.
I know that every single cost of this policy is being placed on Ms Patel's desk. Some believe that is officials trying to be clear that the full responsibility is clearly on her shoulders. But those close to her deny that- saying this is just the normal process.
I should say that I have also heard that she demanded detailed breakdowns of departmental spending when she first arrived at the Home Office, so I imagine she would be keeping a close eye on this.
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And those costs - with all the legal challenges and grounded planes - are likely to spiral. Some have claimed there isn't even a clear budget, although Treasury sources insist there is no blank cheque. For the government - the ECHR's last minute intervention has proven to be a rallying cry for the right-wing of the party.
Sir John Hayes who chairs the "Common Sense group" of Tory MPs told ITV News that it cannot be acceptable - particularly after Brexit - for European judges to interfere with the will of parliament.
Interestingly, a Tory MP who disagrees with Hayes - starts with the same argument.
Andrew Mitchell told me that it was totally wrong for the courts to intervene, arguing parliament is the highest court in the country, and said it wasn't a violation of people's rights to be sent to Rwanda - arguing it was a generous offer from the African country.
But he argued that people should be processed in the UK - and only removed if they are found to be illegal, and he pressed the cost point. "It would be cheaper to put them up at the Ritz hotel for a year - on half board and give them a bottle of champagne every lunchtime. They were going to pay half a million to send four people to Rwanda."