Nick Robinson Roasts Grant Shapps Over The Latest Delay To The Rwanda Bill

Rishi Sunak's flagship legislation will now not pass until next week at the earliest.
Grant Shapps and Nick Robinson on the Today programme this morning.
Grant Shapps and Nick Robinson on the Today programme this morning.

Nick Robinson roasted Grant Shapps after he tried to blame Labour for the latest delay to the government’s Rwanda bill.

The House of Lords last night passed two more amendments to the controversial legislation, meaning it will not pass until next week at the earliest.

On BBC Radio 4′s Today programme this morning, the defence secretary said Keir Starmer had “directed his Labour lords to block, once again, the passage of the Rwanda bill”.

One of the Lords amendment would see those who have served the British army, including Afghan interpreters, from being forcibly deported to Rwanda.

Nick Robinson asked Shapps: “Why are you resisting that?”

Shapps replied: “As defence secretary I am immensely keen to ensure that people who supported us in Afghanistan are able to move here. That’s why we have a programme of Afghanistan’s ability to come here, which has already brought 16,000 people here.”

However, he said it was wrong for those who had come via people smugglers to stay in the UK.

Robinson pointed out that three former defence chiefs, as well as former national security adviser Lord Sedwill, had all voted for the amendment last night and that none of them were Labour peers.

“All these people, leaders of our armed forces, are saying you’ve got it wrong, you should change your mind,” he added.

But Shapps said: “I understand there are lots of people who disagree with the policy, that’s what a democracy is, but tell me what the alternative is.

“Tell me what Keir Starmer and the Labour Party intend to do about it. The answer is they don’t have an answer and, using their block of votes in the House of Lords, they have once again voted against the Rwanda legislation.”

Last night’s votes make it even less likely that Rishi Sunak will achieve his aim of getting deportation flights to Rwanda into the air in the spring.

The prime minister has said the bill will act as a deterrent to anyone considering making the journey across the Channel in small boats.

Shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said: “They can try to blame Labour, the Lords, or even the former military leaders who voted to amend the government’s bill this evening to prevent Afghan interpreters who helped our armed forces from being sent to Rwanda.

“But this is their mess, and they have no idea how to solve it. Rather than wasting more time and money on their failed scheme they should back Labour’s plan to properly protect our border security and go after the criminal smuggler gangs.”


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