British Parliament Debates Rwanda Refugee Bill

Government's Rwanda Refugee Bill Debated in House of Lords, Opposition Accuses Despotism!

3 mins read

The House of Lords continues to scrutinize the government’s controversial Rwanda Refugee Bill.

The law aims to send some people seeking asylum in the UK to Rwanda. However, the UK Supreme Court has previously ruled this plan unlawful.

Debates in the House of Lords began on Monday. Opposition MPs accused the government of acting “like a despot”. Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron argued that it would be wrong for parliament to “block” the plan.

The law will make it clear in UK law that Rwanda is a safe country and give ministers the power to ignore emergency measures. In this way, it is aimed to resume flights.

The Prime Minister had made stopping migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats one of his five priorities.

Tuesday’s debate was the second day of a three-day committee stage in the House of Lords where the legislation is being scrutinized line by line. The Lords faces around 100 amendments to be considered.

After voting on amendments to the report, the Lords will have the chance to hold a final vote before sending the bill back to the House of MPs.

On Monday, Labor’s Baroness Chakrabarti said the law “threatens the rule of domestic law, in particular the separation of powers and the international rules-based order.”

Former Conservative Party leader Lord Howard said the Supreme Court decision was a “statement of opinion”. and therefore it was right for the government to override this decision if necessary.

But Conservative Party member Lord Tugendhat, whose nephew is Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, said, “The behavior required of us represents the kind of behavior the world would associate with despotisms and autocracy, not with a democracy, not with the mother of Parliament.”

Independent Lord Alton of Liverpool said it was not enough to declare Rwanda safe through legislation.

“If you call a dog a cat, it is not a cat. This may be your opinion, but it is not right.”

Speaking during his visit to Scotland, Lord Cameron said that “Rwanda is a safe country in our view, that it has made great strides in recent years and that many refugees in Rwanda are very well looked after”.

“We need to get this legislation through Parliament, we need to make some of these flights happen, and we need to show that this country will not tolerate large-scale illegal immigration.”


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