Asylum Scheme Delayed as Lords Stand Against Rwanda Deportation Plan

In a pivotal clash between the UK government and the House of Lords, peers overwhelmingly rejected Rishi Sunak’s proposed Rwanda asylum law, sparking debates over legal compliance and the UK’s wavering commitment to human rights. Here’s the full story.

Lame Duck

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The UK government is appearing increasingly like a lame duck as the weeks count down to the election. 

Significant Rifts

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The upcoming budget seems only to amplify the already significant rifts within the Tory party, and the Chancellor cannot seem to decide whether he likes or dislikes tax cuts, depending on who he’s talking to. 

Flagship Bill

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However, the latest setback to befall the Government is of another league entirely, as the House of Lords has delivered a blow to Rishi Sunak’s flagship Rwanda asylum law.

Stiff Opposition

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The proposed legislation, which would allow the Government to deport asylum seekers who arrive in the UK to Rwanda, faced stiff opposition in the upper chamber of the mother of parliaments. 

Simmering Tensions

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The Lord’s move to delay the bill, as they cannot stop it from passing eventually, has brought simmering tensions between the Lords and the Government to the boil, as tensions over immigration policies threaten to engulf the Conservatives once again. 

“Will of the People”

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had previously cautioned the Lords against obstructing the passage of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, using the tired Brexit referendum refrain “the will of the people.”

Voter Traction

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With immigration one of the few topics on which the flailing Conservative Government seems to be able to get any traction with voters, Rishi Sunak has made controlling immigration a cornerstone of his election promises. 

Ignored Warnings

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However, the Prime Minister risks looking even weaker, as the Lords in the upper chamber ignored his warnings and seemed set on delaying the bill as long as possible. 

Resounding Defeat

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The resounding defeat in the upper chamber sets the scene for protracted legislative battles between the House of Commons and the Lords. 

Back and Forth

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During the interminable back and forth between the Commons and the Lords, the bill will be passed around until, eventually, a consensus is reached. 

Formidable Opposition

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However, before that can happen, the Government faces formidable opposition to its deeply controversial asylum proposals.

Legal Hiccup

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The proposed Rwanda asylum law and accompanying treaty with Rwanda aims to rectify a slight legal hiccup faced by the Government in implementing its deportation plans. 

Breaking International Law

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Following a Supreme Court ruling deeming the initial deportation scheme unlawful under international law, the Government has bravely decided to ignore the international rules-based order they expect other countries to follow.

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor

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The new bill will override international law, declaring Rwanda as a safe country where the UK government can send any asylum seekers and refugees who wash up, if they’re lucky, on Britain’s shores. 

See No Evil

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Despite the Government’s attempts to look the other way whenever international law is mentioned, the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Equality and Human Rights Commission have raised serious concerns about the compatibility of the proposed legislation with both human rights obligations and international law. 

“Fundamentally Incompatible”

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Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights has gone so far as to say that the Rwanda plan is “fundamentally incompatible” with the principles of human rights that the country has sworn to uphold. 

National Unity

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Voices within and outside Parliament have criticized the Government’s approach in a rare moment of national unity. 

“The Point of International Law”

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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was incredibly frank regarding his criticism of the Government’s plan, stating that “the Government is challenging the right of international law to constrain our actions. And the point of international law is to stop governments going ahead with things that are wrong.”


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Even Lords belonging to Sunak’s party turned against the bill, with Tory peer Lord Tugendhat drawing parallels with Orwellian dystopian fiction.

War is Peace

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The parallel is a striking one, as in 1984, the party declared that “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength,” and the conservatives are trying to declare that Rwanda is a safe country for refugees when it is not. 

“Regardless of Reality”

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Tugendhat jeered, “If this Bill goes onto the statute book in its present form, Rwanda will be a safe country regardless of reality until the statute is repealed.”

Toeing the Line

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However, other unelected Lords, including former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard, defended the Government’s right to legislate on immigration matters.

Pyrrhic Victory

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The controversy surrounding the Rwanda asylum law will be with us for some time, following the Lords’ pyrrhic victory over the Government’s internationally illegal legislation. 

Undermine Legal Principles

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Critics have argued that the bill will do nothing less than undermine fundamental legal principles and erode trust in the rule of law. 

Keep Calm and Carry On

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However, the Government seems determined to carry out their Rwanda plan, and only time will tell if they manage to do so before the next election. 

The post Asylum Scheme Delayed as Lords Stand Against Rwanda Deportation Plan first appeared on Pulse365 Limited.

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