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Rwanda Bill to return to Commons on March 18 after Lords defeats

07 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at press conference in response to the Supreme Court ruling that the Rwanda asylum policy is unlawful. Leon Neal/PA Wire

The UK Government will attempt to overturn amendments to its proposed Rwanda asylum law on March 18 after it suffered 10 defeats in the House of Lords.

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt confirmed the return date for the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill during her weekly business statement.

The Bill will receive its third reading in the Lords on March 12 and MPs will get a chance to debate and vote on the amendments in the following week.

It comes as Rishi Sunak was accused of failing to stop migrant Channel crossings after arrivals topped 3,000 for the year so far – the highest total for the same period over the last six years.

Changes backed by the Lords include overturning the Government bid to oust the courts from the process.

Legal challenges

The move by the unelected chamber effectively blows a hole in the Bill, which is intended to prevent continued legal challenges to the stalled deportation scheme after the Supreme Court ruled the plan was unlawful.

The proposed legislation seeks to compel judges to regard the east African country as safe in a bid to clear the way to send asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats on a one-way flight to Rwanda.

But the amendment agreed by the Lords restores the jurisdiction of domestic courts in relation to the safety of Rwanda and enables them to intervene.

Other changes supported by peers include safeguards to reduce the risk of unaccompanied children being sent to Rwanda, a block on the removal of victims of modern slavery and human trafficking, as well as those who worked with the UK military or Government overseas.

Safeguards

The Lords also approved amendments designed to ensure the Bill complies with the rule of law and that Parliament cannot declare Rwanda to be safe until the treaty with its promised safeguards is fully implemented.

The Prime Minister has made “stopping the boats” a key pledge of his leadership and previously warned the Lords against frustrating “the will of the people” by hampering the passage of the Bill.

The 10 defeats in the Lords has set the stage for an extended stand-off between the two Houses of Parliament, which is known as “ping-pong”.

The Bill will pass between the Commons and Lords until they can reach agreement on its wording.


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Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

‘Ping Pong’ that usually just ends with the UK government more or less getting it’s own way and advancing the Bill. All the government needs is a big majority in the Commons to do so. Besides all this, basically waste of time pinging and ponging, the issue of immigration is not high on the agenda of ordinary people, people who are struggling to make ends meet. That is the more important issue, helping these people, and in not doing so the Tories will get the kicking they deserve in the autumn.

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