FLYING six people to the edge of space is cheaper than the UK sending one failed asylum seeker to Rwanda, MPs have heard.

The UK Government was mocked over the cost of the stalled deportation scheme as MPs considered amendments made by peers to the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill.

MPs are expected to reject changes made by the Lords to the Government’s Rwanda legislation, setting up a battle with peers which could delay the bill’s passage until after Easter.

Downing Street said the UK Government believed it had “the right bill” and “it remains our plan to get it through as quickly as possible”.

Officials “are identifying and have identified the cohort of people who will be the first to board flights” to Rwanda, No 10 said.

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Labour MP Neil Coyle (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) told the Commons: “Is the minister aware that Virgin Galactic can send six people into space for less than this Government wants to spend sending one person to Rwanda?

“Is it not time to rethink this absurd policy and extortionate cost?”

Home Office minister Michael Tomlinson questioned why so few Labour MPs attended a debate last week to discuss the cost of the scheme, adding: “That shows the priority – or the lack of priority – which those opposite give to that.”

The scheme could cost taxpayers nearly £2 million for each of the first 300 asylum seekers sent to Rwanda, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

Tickets for Virgin Galactic flights initially went on sale for around £158,000 each and last summer cost around £356,000 per person – putting the cost of six space tourists at £2.13m.

Shadow Home Office minister Stephen Kinnock also remarked on the costs after Coyle’s comparison, telling MPs: “That really does show that the Rwanda plan is a galactically wasteful policy.”