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Tory Rwanda Legislation ‘A Total Disgrace’, Says Stirling MP

Published:

Categories: Foreign Affairs, UK Government (Westminster)

Second Round of Protections Proposed by House of Lords Rejected

Alyn Smith MP has decried the UK Government for continuing to push forward their controversial ‘Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, after the House of Commons voted down a second round of amendments from the House of Lords.

The Bill aims to declare Rwanda a safe country, after the UK Supreme Court ruled plans to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing breached human rights law. The legislative ‘ping-pong’ between the House of Commons and House of Lords continues, after the Lords proposed to include several protections to the Bill, including:

  • An amendment to make sure the legislation has “due regard” for international law
  • An amendment that states Rwanda can only be considered ‘safe’ while the provision in the treaty with the UK is in place
  • An amendment to check whether Rwanda complies with its treaty obligations
  • An amendment allowing individual appeals based on their safety in Rwanda
  • An amendment requiring age assessments for those being deported to be carried out by the local authority
  • An amendment stopping deportations of those who say they are victims of modern slavery
  • An amendment to exempt from deportation those who have served with or for the UK’s armed forces

All amendments were voted down by the UK Government. The Bill will now return to the Lords for further consideration, with further votes expected later this week.

Alyn Smith MP,  SNP Spokesperson for Europe and EU Accession said:

‘I urge the Prime Minister to reconsider his approach, as this legislation is wildly out of step with the values of the communities I serve across Stirling. This circus continues to toy with the lives of vulnerable people, wasting millions of taxpayers’ money on a scheme doomed to fail – all the while taking focus away from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Middle East tensions. 

‘The UK Government should drop this gambit and instead ensure safe and legal routes for those seeking asylum. The system needs processing resources, not a landing pad in Rwanda to fling vulnerable people to. The premise of this idea is not only economically flawed, it’s morally repugnant.’ 

‘I was very glad to vote for the amendments as proposed by the House of Lords, ensuring common sense protections in this dog’s dinner of a Bill. Instead, the UK Government continues to plough ahead creating bad law, horrendous precedent and as we saw with Brexit, creating future problems for itself and vulnerable communities.’