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Montevideo, April 24th 2024 - 09:28 UTC

 

 

PM Sunak relief: Rwanda Bill approved by Commons but stiffer battle expected at Lords

Thursday, January 18th 2024 - 10:10 UTC
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The bill, which aims to stop legal challenges against ministers' plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, was approved by 320 votes to 276 votes in the Lower House The bill, which aims to stop legal challenges against ministers' plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, was approved by 320 votes to 276 votes in the Lower House

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has succeeded in getting his key Rwanda bill through the House of Commons after a Tory rebellion failed to materialize, BBC reports. But the bill must now go to the House of Lords, another stiff battle.

The bill, which aims to stop legal challenges against ministers' plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, was approved by 320 votes to 276 votes in the Lower House, even when dozens of Tories thought the bill was flawed and had threatened to rebel but in the end, only 11 voted against it.

Mr Sunak argues that deporting some asylum seekers to Rwanda will be a deterrent to migrants seeking to get to the UK by crossing the Channel in small boats, but Labour has labeled the plan an expensive “gimmick”.

Over the past two days MPs on the right of the Conservative Party have tried to change the bill, arguing that, without amendments, the government's Rwanda plan could be blocked by the courts.

On Wednesday, former immigration minister Robert Jenrick tabled an amendment which would permit the UK government to ignore parts of human rights law in relation to sending people to Rwanda.

Mr Jenrick also proposed an amendment which would ensure ministers automatically reject last-minute interim orders from the European Court of Human Rights.

Such an order was responsible for blocking a flight to Rwanda back in June 2022. The amendment was not approved by MPs but received the backing of 61 Conservatives - the biggest rebellion of Mr Sunak's premiership.

Some MPs had suggested they would be willing to abstain or even vote against the entire bill if it remained unchanged.

The bill could have fallen if about 30 Conservatives had voted against it - an outcome that would have severely damaged the prime minister's authority, potentially fatally.

However, in the event, just 11 MPs - including Mr Jenrick and former Home Secretary Suella Braverman - voted against it.

Other Tory MPs on the list include Miriam Cates, Sir Simon Clarke, Mark Francois and Danny Kruger.

Eighteen Conservative MPs did not record a vote, however some of those may have simply been unable to attend the vote rather than deliberately abstaining.

Labour opposed the bill, with shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper labeling the policy a “costly con” that had so far failed to send any asylum seekers to Rwanda, and shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock branding it “unaffordable, unworkable, [and] unlawful”.

Home Secretary James Cleverly defended the plan arguing that it sent “an unambiguously clear message that if you enter the United Kingdom illegally you cannot stay.

”This bill has been meticulously drafted to end the merry-go-round of legal challenges,” he added.

Categories: Politics, International.

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