LONDON – In aviation terms, Priti Patel’s departure from the Home Office leaves behind the legacy of the shambolic handling of the Privilege Style deportation flight back in June.
Patel was so hell-bent on making an immigration policy so flawed work that it backfired spectacularly in her face.
For those that do not know, Privilege Style came into the crossfire thanks to a deportation flight to Rwanda that never came to a head.
Around eight passengers were due to be on this flight to Kigali from Boscombe Down, but hours before, the passenger manifest began to decrease.
This was due to the European Court of Human Rights striking injunctions against the flight from transporting the passengers in question.
Around 5-10 minutes before pushback, the final injunction for the final passenger was approved, and the flight was subsequently canceled.
Victory for The Refugees, Massive Loss For The Government…
This has been deemed by protest groups as a massive victory for the refugees, as it gives them more time in the United Kingdom to claim asylum through the courts or by application.
For the government, this has been a massive loss, especially for Home Secretary Priti Patel, who had this to say on the flight being canceled:
For the taxpayer, this flight came at a cost of around £160,000 per deportee operating the flight, meaning that the waste to the taxpayer is somewhere in the region of £1.2m.
It’s a waste, especially with some sources mentioning that the fee was non-refundable to Privilege Style to operate the flight as well.
Patel Leaves Behind An Ugly Legacy…
Because of her harsh approach to immigration policy, the Privilege Style deportation flight was the last step needed to ruin her career. Her early resignation probably indicates that she will not be on the same wavelength as incoming Prime Minister Liz Truss.
The huge cost to the taxpayer did not benefit anything, as the Boeing 767 eventually headed back to Spain.
As for Privilege Style, this is something that they will be remembered for going into the future, especially with other charter carriers refusing to operate the flights.
Either way, it’s going to be interesting to see where Truss will go on immigration policy, and whether we could see these deportation flights again anytime soon.
Whoever takes over from Patel will not be as extreme as her, and we could potentially see a lot of lessons learned from the Privilege Style scandal.
Whatever decisions take place need to be better thought through, and that comes from the Privilege Style side of things. They would have taken a major PR hit from this, all at the expense of money.
But as a personal opinion, these deportation flights shouldn’t have taken place. I knew that the flight wasn’t going to happen, and they shouldn’t have done either.