Matthew Rycroft, the permanent secretary of the Home Office, will be hauled before the public accounts committee on Monday, after the initial costs of the scheme rose from £140m to £290m.
He was also accused of showing an “extreme lack of respect” towards the home affairs and public accounts committee over the way the Home Office disclosed the costs, days after refusing to be transparent.
It is a further headache for Sunak as he tries to get his emergency legislation aimed at overturning court objections to the Rwanda scheme through the Commons on Tuesday. Rightwingers in his party are saying it is not hardline enough and centrist Tories are concerned that it undermines human rights.
His team are set to spend the weekend pressing Tory MPs to back the legislation, despite a lack of legal certainty about the workability of the plan. According to the Times, the government’s own legal advisers have said there is a no more than 50% chance of deportation flights leaving for Rwanda before the next election.
With pressure mounting on the Home Office, a source close to James Cleverly, the home secretary, appeared to blame his sacked predecessor, Suella Braverman, for the way the department has been run up until now.
“It’s not easy for departments that have been for months in the grip of one way of doing things that tended to produce headlines, to very quickly and successfully adjust to another way of doing things that within weeks produces results,” the source said. “But that is what they are doing.”