A HOME Office minister has confirmed that a "significant" number of asylum seekers and refugees will be detained to stop them trying to evade deportation to Rwanda.

Tom Pursglove, a junior minister in Priti Patel’s department, told a committee of MPs that it was not unlikely that people would be held in detention facilities while they await removal.

He was speaking alongside Daniel Hobbs, the Home Office’s asylum protection and enforcement director, at the Home Affairs committee this morning.

Tory MP Lee Anderson said that in order to justify the expense of the controversial scheme, around £120m in a trial run, the government would have to “sell it to the public”.

He then asked how the minister would stop “these economic migrants or asylum seekers, or whatever they pretend to be” from “disappearing and never been seen again in this country” once they are told they are going to be sent to Rwanda instead of being allowed to claim asylum in the UK.

Mr Pursglove said: “My understanding is that there are individuals who are detained at the moment and of course, we detain people you know, we have people in detention all the time.

“That is a fact because we facilitate removals from the United Kingdom virtually every day of the week.”

In response to a question about whether people would be detained during the screening process, the minster said: “It is not unreasonable to think that a significant number of people would be detained for that purpose, but again, we make appropriate arrangements according to the circumstances of the individual.”

The Home Office officials were asked what modelling the UK Government had done to verify that their controversial policy would actually work in deterring migrants from risking their lives to come to the UK via the Channel.

However Mr Pursglove was unable to say, instead telling MPs: “What this is doing is ending people making those journeys and thinking that there is a very significant chance of them remaining in the United Kingdom for a significant length of time. Doing nothing is not an option.”

Mr Hobbs told the Committee there was evidence “out there” but acknowledged the department had not done specific modelling for their Rwanda scheme as “human behaviour is extremely complex”.

He said: “We have looked at where other countries have done this.

“Australia, as part of their wider package of their sovereign Borders program, did it.

“They've had no illegal maritime crossings since 2014. So there is evidence out there that this is part of a wider package, which is set out as part of a new plan as part of that, and obviously, understanding human behaviour and drivers is extremely complex.”

Challenged again on whether there was specific modelling by the department, Mr Hobbs said: “ You can do some assumption modelling as part of evidence…to assess numbers but defining the individual impact and the individual decisions of migrants is extremely complicated.

“It is only logical to assert that if you cut off the business model of these evil criminal gangs, that that will materially make a difference in terms of people making these crossings.”

Mr Pursglove said that while there is no specific number of people expected to be removed to the African country, the Prime Minister had said that “thousands” of asylum seekers would be part of the controversial plans.

He said that he hoped it would deter people from “asylum shopping” around Europe, instead of claiming asylum in the first safe country.

SNP MP Joanna Cherry confronted the minister over the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who could be sent to Rwanda, pointing to Foreign Office advice warning LGBT citizens from Britain that they could be discriminated.

On the UK Government’s own website, it states: “Homosexuality is not illegal in Rwanda but remains frowned on by many. LGBT individuals can experience discrimination and abuse, including from local authorities.

“There are no specific anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBT individuals.”

However the minister claimed there was anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, which is central to the country’s constitution.

He said: “There is an anti-discrimination law that runs through the constitution of Rwanda, like a stick of rock.

“And again, I would make the point that cases will be judged on a case by case basis as to whether it is appropriate and safe for those individuals to be removed.”