Rwanda ruling: PM shares ‘frustrations’ of Lee Anderson after ‘ignore the law’ comment

In his press conference today reacting to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the government’s Rwanda policy, the prime minister was questioned on the comments of Conservative Party deputy chair Lee Anderson. 

Anderson today urged ministers to “ignore” the court’s ruling on the Rwanda policy.

Asked if he will sack his deputy party chairman, the PM replied that Anderson’s comments “reflect the strength of feeling in the country on this issue and I absolutely share, actually, in the frustrations that my colleagues and people across the country have”.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the New Conservatives caucus of right-wing MPs, Anderson said: “I think the British people have been very patient, I’ve been very patient, and now they’re demanding action.

“And this has sort of forced our hand a little bit now. My take is we should just put the planes in the air now and send them to Rwanda and show strength.

“It’s time for the Government to show real leadership and send them back, same day”

He added: “I think we should ignore the laws and send them straight back the same day.”

Earlier today, Downing Street declined to rebuke Anderson for his suggestion that the government should act in defiance of the law.

But justice secretary Alex Chalk took to X (formerly Twitter) to issue an apparent response to Anderson.

“Respecting the rule of law means respecting the impartial judgments of our independent courts”, he wrote, adding: “Judges apply the law without fear or favour – a longstanding principle of our democratic constitution”.

“This government is absolutely committed to stopping the boats, and we will continue to work to deliver on this promise for the British people”.

In his press conference this afternoon, Rishi Sunak said he did “not agree with the decision” of the Supreme Court, but that he “respects” and “accepts” it. 

He said that the UK has been working on a new treaty with Rwanda to prevent people being deported after being removed there from the UK.

He also announced that the government will introduce “emergency legislation” to confirm that Rwanda is safe.

Turning to the European Court of Human Rights, Sunak said: “If the Strasbourg court chooses to intervene against the express wishes of parliament, I am prepared to do what is necessary to get flights off”.

He declared: “I will not allow a foreign court to block these flights”.

Questioned by reporters, the prime minister confirmed the government’s stated position that flights to Rwanda should take off by Spring. 

“We will clear the remaining barriers and flights will be heading off in the spring as planned”, he said. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.