Labour Peer Demolishes Rwanda Bill With 5 Points In Under A Minute

It came amid another blow to Rishi Sunak's flagship policy.
Baroness Shami Chakrabarti
Baroness Shami Chakrabarti
Jonathan Brady - PA Images via Getty Images

Labour peer Baroness Shami Chakrabarti pulled apart the Rwanda bill on Monday night in a brutal takedown.

In a blow to PM Rishi Sunak, the House of Lords defeated the controversial bill yesterday, delaying it until the government can prove it’s safe to deport asylum seekers to the country.

Sunak begged the Lords not to disrupt his flagship plan only last week – but, to no avail it seems.

Even though the bill will be formally debated in the Lords next week, the peers have already voted to slow it down by a motion of 214 votes to 171 – and they took the chance to lay into it, too.

Chakrabarti had a particularly powerful takedown, as she pointed out that the Rwanda policy was “not in anyone’s manifesto”.

Tory MP Simon Clarke previously claimed that this is what the electorate voted for back in 2019 when the Conservatives won by a landslide.

Actually, their manifesto at the time promised only to “take back control of our borders” – there was no mention of deporting asylum seekers to east Africa.

Chakrabarti continued: “It risks being contrary to the domestic rule of law, including by ousting the jurisdiction by the courts or indeed changing reality, as it has been found by the Supreme Court on November 15.”

The UK’s highest court said the deal is unlawful because deported asylum seekers could risk being returned to their home country – and that would be a breach of domestic law.

The Labour peer noted that it “risks breaching international law, again, as found not by a foreign court or even an international court, but by the highest court in our land.”

The Supreme Court also warned that such a bill would risk breaching the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and the UN Refugee Convention if asylum seekers were sent back to the country they fled from.

Then Chakrabarti also pointed out that the bill “risks breaching the human rights that have been baked into the hard won and precious Good Friday Agreement.”

The Labour Party has recently argued that the Rwanda policy could put the Northern Ireland Protocol in jeopardy, because it states that EU rights have to be recognised in Northern Ireland – and the deportation bill would confuse asylum seekers’ rights in the region.

And finally, alluding to the huge number of opinion polls which show the Tories are dragging far behind Labour, she concluded that this controversy was all unfolding “in what may or may not be the last days of a government.”


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