Home Politics Rwanda bill live: legislation passes third reading as rightwing rebellion recedes – as it happened | Politics

Rwanda bill live: legislation passes third reading as rightwing rebellion recedes – as it happened | Politics

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Rwanda bill live: legislation passes third reading as rightwing rebellion recedes – as it happened | Politics


Rwanda bill is approved

The third reading of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill passed by 320 votes to 276, a majority of 44.

Updated at 

Key events

Summary

We are now closing the blog.

Here is a summary of events today.

  • Rishi Sunak’s flagship Rwanda deportation bill passes its final Commons hurdle by 320 votes to 276 – a majority 44.

  • The bill will now go to the House of Lords where it is there is more chance of it being amended, partly because the government does not have a majority there and partly because the chamber is full of lawyers who take safeguarding rights particularly seriously.

  • The government said (prior to the vote) that if the Rwanda bill is passed, it will scrap guidance to civil servants saying they must always obey injunctions from the European court of human rights (rule 39 orders) blocking deportations.

  • New guidance on ECHR injunctions puts officials in an “invidious position”, Prospect, a union representing civil servants has said. It has condemned the new guidance being issued to officials about injunctions from the European court of human rights.

  • Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has said he will return UK taxpayers’ money if no asylum seekers arrive. The UK has paid £240m to Rwanda, with a further £50m to come. No asylum seekers have so far been sent to the country. Kagame added efforts to implement asylum plan cannot “drag on”.

  • Labour has said the UK should quickly take up Rwanda’s president on his offer to return money spent on deportation scheme.

  • Robert Jenrick’s amendment was defeated, but it saw 61 Conservative rebels back it. Yesterday, 60 Tories backed Sir Bill Cash’s amendment.

  • Peers have said it’s too early to know if Rwanda has made changes needed to address supreme court’s deportation concerns.

  • David Cameron has denied Rwanda bill makes UK an embarrassment on world stage. He made the comments during a Q&A at Davos.

  • Suella Braverman strongly attacked ECHR, prompting claims from opposition MPs she’s campaigning for Tory leadership.

  • Labour condemned No 10 for saying it will allocate more judges to asylum cases when rape victims wait years for trials to start.

  • Keir Starmer led tributes to the Labour MP Tony Lloyd who has died, paying tribute to his “desire to make the world a better, fairer place”.

  • The UK government says it’s seeking costs from Scottish government to pay legal fees from gender bill challenge.

  • Earlier at PMQs Keir Starmer labelled Rwanda plan a “farce” and said spending £400m on a removals problem that does not remove anyone is not a plan.

  • Plans to change the Whitehall code of conduct to facilitate Rwanda deportations has been dismissed as “madness” by Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA, the union that represents senior civil servants.

  • Illegal migration minister Michael Tomlinson claims Rwanda policy will have 94% deterrent effect on small boat crossings.

  • Conservative former minister Dr Liam Fox has been accused of using a “misogynistic term” when he described SNP MP home affairs spokeswoman Alison Thewliss’s speech as “hysterical”.

Here is the moment the results of the votes on the government’s Rwanda bill are announced.

MPs vote in favour of government’s Rwanda bill – video

Back to the Rwanda Bill vote.

The division list showed 11 Conservative MPs rebelled to vote against the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill at third reading, PA News reports.

They were: Suella Braverman (Fareham), William Cash (Stone), Miriam Cates (Penistone and Stocksbridge), Simon Clarke (Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland), Sarah Dines (Derbyshire Dales), James Duddridge (Rochford and Southend East), Mark Francois (Rayleigh and Wickford), Andrea Jenkyns (Morley and Outwood), Robert Jenrick (Newark), David Jones (Clwyd West), Danny Kruger (Devizes).

You can find more information here.

Updated at 

Pippa Crerar

Pippa Crerar

Rishi Sunak has survived a damaging row over his flagship Rwanda bill after a Conservative rebellion melted away as dozens of rightwing MPs baulked at further undermining the prime minister’s authority.

After a crucial 11th hour meeting of more than 45 Tory rebels, the group’s leaders concluded that defeating the bill by voting alongside Labour during an election year could risk collapsing the government.

Just 11 Conservative hardliners , including the former home secretary Suella Braverman and Robert Jenrick, the former immigration minister, voted against the legislation, which passed by 320 votes to 276, a majority of 44.

There was relief in Downing Street that after days of chaos and infighting at Westminster, during which dozens of Tories rebelled to support amendments to try to toughen up the legislation, the bill has eventually passed its final Commons hurdle.

Sunak now faces further bruising battles with peers who are already threatening to amend the Rwanda deportation plan in the House of Lords to make sure that it complies with international law.

Read the full report here.

Peter Walker

Peter Walker

However tricky things may get, if Sunak had lost this bill on its third reading it would have been disastrous for him.
However tricky things may get, if Sunak had lost this bill on its third reading it would have been disastrous for him. Photograph: UK Parliament/Reuters

The good news for Rishi Sunak is that, as widely predicted, his Rwanda bill passed the Commons with relative ease. But in keeping with the curse faced by so many recent Conservative prime ministers, getting what he wants could be just the start of his troubles.

There is one very important point to make first. However tricky things may get implementing the measure, if Sunak had become the first prime minister since 1977 to lose a bill on third reading it would have been disastrous, even politically terminal for him. So he will be pleased.

This is, of course, is all relative. An authoritative prime minister in a strong position would not expect to see 60 MPs rebel to try to amend a flagship policy, as happened on Tuesday, let alone have to wait for the same MPs to largely back down to guarantee the bill’s progress the following day.

As has been the case throughout the genesis of the Rwanda deportation scheme, one bequeathed to a reportedly sceptical Sunak by Boris Johnson, via Liz Truss, it is now hard to say whether he will face more problems being able to implement the scheme or having it blocked again.

He could see the Lords try to derail the bill, or at least delay it, with the latter seen as the more likely option, even among potential rebels in the upper house. If it is passed, the unilateral declaration that Rwanda is a safe country to which asylum seekers can be deported will then almost certainly face a renewed judicial test.

This route would allow Sunak and his ministers to hit out at “lefty lawyers” and “unelected peers” – but actual voters, already deeply sceptical of the Rwanda plan, might focus instead on the potentially broken promise to have the first planes leave by spring.

And if the Lords does back down, and the bill proves legally watertight? That leaves Sunak having to enact a policy that could appear notably more inhumane once it involves real people who have fled real trauma, rather than a mass of unnamed “illegal migrants”.

Most crucially, Sunak has bet almost all his remaining political credibility on a rush of flights to Rwanda having an immediate and noticeable impact on the flow of unofficial small boat crossings over the Channel, something few outsiders believe is realistic.

Read the full analysis here.

BREAKING: Rishi Sunak’s flagship Rwanda deportation bill passes its final Commons hurdle by 320 votes to 276, majority 44.

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) January 17, 2024

Rwanda bill is approved

The third reading of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill passed by 320 votes to 276, a majority of 44.

Updated at 

Tory former minister Liam Fox accused of using ‘misogynistic term’

Conservative former minister Dr Liam Fox has been accused of using a “misogynistic term” when he described an SNP MP’s speech as hysterical.

Dr Liam Fox faced criticism for the remark in the Commons, which he made as he told MPs: “It is very clear from the debate and the last couple of days that it is this side and this side only that understands the concept of deterrence when it comes to…”

SNP home affairs spokeswoman Alison Thewliss could be heard to shout as Dr Fox spoke, and the senior Conservative interrupted his opening words to respond: “She has had her hysterical say. I will have mine.”

The SNP frontbencher shouted back: “Misogynist!”

Ms Thewliss had claimed in her speech that the Government “has become the criminal gang, breaking international law, moving vulnerable people across the world without legal process, no right of appeal, no concern for the safety or human rights of asylum seekers, to a country they do not know, involving money and involving profit”.

Fleur Anderson, the Labour MP for Putney, later criticised Dr Fox, telling MPs:

I also am shocked to hear a member calling another member – a female member – hysterical. It is a classic callout of misogynistic term and I am shocked to hear it.

Earlier, Independent MP Jeremy Corbyn said the Bill is an “appalling piece of legislation” that “fails to take into account the human suffering of people forced through lack of any other alternative try to make a very dangerous crossing across the channel”.

The result of the vote is expected at 9.30pm.

MPs vote on Rwanda bill

The Commons has divided to vote on a motion to approve the Safety of Rwanda Bill.

Updated at 

Labour’s Jess Phillips has said: “I stand here to say that I want everybody in here to know that they are about to vote for a Bill they have absolutely no idea how much it’s going to cost.”

She added:

People who think that the amount of time spent on wasting taxpayers’ money on something that hasn’t worked the last two times…and it will not work this time, frankly, Mr Speaker should be ashamed of themselves for voting for something which they don’t have any idea how much it’s going to cost the people in their constituencies.

61 Tory MPs backed Jenrick’s Amendment 23

More on the vote on Jenrick’s Amendment 23.

According to the division list, 61 Conservative MPs backed it, making it the largest Tory rebellion of the Rwanda Bill so far.

Yesterday, 60 Tories backed Sir Bill Cash’s amendment.

MPs vote against Jenrick’s amendment to Rwanda bill – video

Conservative MP Sir William Cash has said he will be voting against the Rwanda Bill on third reading.

Speaking in the Commons, he said:

I want this Bill to succeed and the sole reason I shall be voting against this Bill will be because, on third reading, I don’t believe – to use the Home Secretary’s own words – that this is the toughest immigration legislation that we could produce, nor do I think we’ve done whatever it takes.

He added:

I wish the Government well, but I do have to say that I can’t support this in all conscience because I’ve set out my case and I’m not going to retract it on principle.





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