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Sunak braced for fresh wrangling over Rwanda Bill as Parliament returns

15 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – Leon Neal

Rishi Sunak is braced for a fresh round of parliamentary wrangling over his Bill to save the UK Government’s stalled Rwanda deportation scheme, as MPs and peers head back to Westminster this week.

The Commons returns from Easter recess on Monday with the legislation high on the agenda after a minister insisted flights carrying asylum seekers to Kigali should be taking off “within weeks”.

MPs will consider amendments to the Safety of Rwanda Bill by the House of Lords, which inflicted a series of defeats against the controversial policy before rising for the spring break.

The UK Government will seek to strip out changes made by peers who want extra legal sagefuards, including a provision to ensure “due regard” for domestic and international law.

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins suggested on Sunday the Home Office is “ready to go” in implementing the plan when the Bill gets on to the statute books.

The legislation seeks to revive the UK Government’s plan to send some asylum seekers on a one-way flight to Kigali, which has faced a series of setbacks since it was announced two years ago by then-prime minister Boris Johnson.

It declares the east African country is safe after the policy was grounded by the Supreme Court ruling the scheme was unlawful.

Meanwhile, the Times reported on Monday that Britain had also approached countries including Costa Rica, Armenia, Ivory Coast and Botswana a bid to replicate the scheme, which is set to cost at least £290 million, elsewhere.


The UK is in talks with the nations after Mr Sunak gave the Home Office and Foreign Office a deadline of last autumn to secure two additional deals, according to the paper.

A Government spokesperson said Britain is “continuing to work with a range of international partners to tackle global illegal migration challenges”.

They said: “Our focus right now is passing the Safety of Rwanda Bill, which builds on the Illegal Migration Act, and putting plans in place to get flights off the ground as soon as possible.”

Peers are expected to mull the Bill on Tuesday and could then send it back to the Commons with amendments later in the week, prolonging the process known as parliamentary ping-pong where legislation is batted between the two Houses.

It is one of two significant parliamentary battles the Prime Minister faces this week, along with a crunch vote on his flagship smoking policy that will be seen as a test of his personal legacy.

The plans would restrict the sale of tobacco so that anyone turning 15 this year, or younger, will never legally be sold cigarettes.

Labour has backed the proposals, though they have faced criticism from some free-marketeering Tory MPs including Mr Sunak’s predecessor Liz Truss.

The policy is expected to be put to a free vote when it comes to the Commons for a debate on Tuesday.

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1 month ago

This is just vindictive now. It is nasty. It is attacking vulnerable people. It is placing people in harms way all beacuse the likes of Braverman and 30p and reform are entities the PM will not stand up to. He keeps saying “the people of the UK” want this, well test it bud, call a GE. ECHR is in serious danger of being meddled in all because this insecure nothing of a politician is desperate to cling to power. His party needs to lose the next election by some margin, it needs to be wiped out as a political entity.… Read more »

1 month ago

This action must NOT be allowed to go ahead.
It is ethically abhorrent.

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
1 month ago

Our unelected PM is pushing this, No matter what the cost. just to save his own face! He acts like a spoilt Toddler who is going to scream for his own way no matter HOW inappropriate and ineffective it is, Rwanda will only take 200 any wat, So cost per head is astronomical!

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