Prince Charles fears Rwanda row will drown out Commonwealth message

Prince Charles fears Rwanda row will drown out his Commonwealth message on visit to east Africa next week after senior royal branded Priti Patel’s migrant policy ‘appalling’

  • The Prince of Wales will represent the Queen when leaders gather in Kigali
  • But royal is anxious that row over the Rwanda policy will overshadow the trip 
  • Charles is understood to have described the Government’s plans as ‘appalling’
  • It comes after the first flight to Rwanda was scuppered at the eleventh hour 

Prince Charles fears the row over the Rwanda asylum plan will drown out his Commonwealth message when he travels to east Africa next week – after he branded Priti Patel’s migrant policy ‘appalling’.

The Prince of Wales will represent the Queen when leaders gather in Kigali for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

It is due to be the first such gathering he has attended since he was named the next head of the Commonwealth in April 2018.

But the royal is anxious that the row over the Government’s Rwanda policy, which intends to take some migrants who cross the Channel on a one-way ticket to the African country, will overshadow his trip.

Risking a major clash with No 10, he is understood to have said that giving Channel migrants a one-way ticket to Africa was ‘appalling’ last week.

A source told The Telegraph that it was ‘quite awkward’ to be travelling to Rwands for the meeting amid debate over the policy.

Clarence House is aware that Charles may be asked questions about the plan during private bilateral meetings and has not rules out making a reference to it during the trip.

Prince Charles meets television presenter Diane Louise Jordan during a reception celebrating the Commonwealth Diaspora at Buckingham Palace last week

Home Secretary Priti Patel has vowed that Rwanda flights will take off within weeks after initial plans were scuppered at the eleventh hour

Members of staff board a plane understood to be the first to transport migrants to Rwanda earlier this week

The Prince of Wales will be the first royal to travel to Rwanda and is said to be ‘very keen’ to focus on challenges faced by the Commonwealth’s 54 members.

Another source said it is difficult getting the Commonwealth message to cut through ‘at the best of times’.

Charles will be joined by wife Camilla and the couple will attend a number of engagements and a fashion show.

The Daily Mail has learnt there has been friction between the heir to the throne and Boris Johnson, with each grumbling about the other being late for official appointments.

Allegations of tensions between the two men echo reports of the strained relationship between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher when she was PM.

It comes as Priti Patel this week vowed that Rwanda flights will take off within weeks as Cabinet ministers urged her to ignore Strasbourg judges who blocked the plans at the eleventh hour.

The same day as the flight plans were scuppered, Charles hosted an engagement at Buckingham Palace celebrating the contribution of the Commonwealth in the UK.

Lord Woolley of Woodford, founding director of Operation Black Vote, said it was ‘very clear’ that the Prince of Wales cared about the Commonwealth and would want the conversation ‘to be focused around that’.

But he admitted that ‘others have got other agendas’.

Charles speaks to actress, author and politician Floella Benjamin at a reception at Buckingham Palace

The Prince of Wales shakes hands with Arsenal and England footballer Bukayo Saka during the engagement

Tories have suggested that the views of the European Court of Human Rights should simply be disregarded after the Home Secretary made a defiant statement to MPs insisting the government is still ‘committed’ to the controversial policy.

Ms Patel said the European Court of Human Rights intervention had been ‘surprising’ and ‘disappointing’ as well as slamming the ‘opaque nature’ of the ruling – but stressed that it had not ruled the proposals were illegal. 

She insisted the ‘usual suspects’ and ‘mobs’ could not be allowed to dictate.

The bullish stance came as Tories vented fury at the ECHR, with one MP saying the UK should now ‘kick these b***ards into touch’.

Any attempt to shrug off instructions from the ECHR would likely cause an outcry from lawyers, a revolt in domestic courts, and repercussions in the Council of Europe. 

A Home Office source said it was not something they were looking at currently, although in the past Conservatives have mooted downgrading the status of rulings. 

Lawyers insist the domestic courts only ‘take account’ of ECHR views anyway.

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