A government minister has accused Labor and Liberal Democrat members of the House of Lords of voting to “sabotage” key elements of the government’s flagship small craft legislation.
Neil O’Brien, health minister, said sky news“We have to restore our ability to deport people who should not be here,” after the government suffered a series of defeats on its illegal immigration bill on Wednesday night.
One of the amendments passed by the Lords included a requirement for the government to comply with a number of international agreements such as the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the UN Convention on Human Rights. of the Child of 1989.
Speaking this morning, Mr O’Brien: “We are, through this small boat bill, taking steps to remove that tangle of rules and human rights laws that are being used by all these people at the last minute. to avoid being deported”. .
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He accused the Liberal Democrats and Labor of “fighting tooth and nail” to stop flagship legislation that he said the rest of the country was overwhelmingly in favor of.
Under the illegal migration bill, in its unamended state, arrivals on “small boats” would be detained within 28 days without bail or judicial review. The legislation would also place a legal obligation on the government to deport almost anyone who arrives in the UK “irregularly” to their country of origin or to a “safe” third country such as Rwanda. And it would introduce a cap on the number of refugees offered refuge through safe and legal routes.
The peers voted to say the bill should only apply after it becomes law, rather than push their proposals back to March 7. They voted to allow unaccompanied children to apply for asylum. And they voted to ensure that victims of human trafficking are not detained or deported before they can apply to a referral system for protection and support.
Following these votes, the voting system in the House of Lords failed, meaning sitting will now resume on Monday.
Home Office Secretary Lord Murray of Blidworth accused his peers of trying to derail the bill, calling the change a “crushing amendment” that would make it unfeasible.
It is also an important day for government policy in Rwanda, as the Court of Appeal ruled this morning, around 10:00am, on whether the migrants can be legally deported to the country to seek asylum there.
The court’s ruling in favor of the ministers would represent a significant step in getting Rwanda’s scheme off the ground.
Conversely, if the court rules against the government, the verdict could still be appealed to the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights, further delaying implementation of the policy.
Conservative Baroness Helic and critic of the illegal immigration bill said on Wednesday: “The government says it thinks it’s compliant. A host of others, including some of the bodies charged with implementing these conventions, say it is not.
“What is clear is that it is not acceptable to disobey or disregard international agreements that bear the name of the United Kingdom.
“If the government is not satisfied with international obligations, then it is free to try to renegotiate them, but simply ignoring our international legal commitments for domestic expediency puts us in very bad company.”
writing on The times In May, Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Justice Secretary Alex Chalk urged their peers to “remember that (the bill) is designed to meet the will of the British people in a humane and fair way, and support the bill.