Rishi Sunak Has Begged The House Of Lords Not To Block His Rwanda Plan

The prime minister still can't guarantee deportation flights will take off this year.
Rishi Sunak hosts a press conference inside the Downing Street Briefing Room.
Rishi Sunak hosts a press conference inside the Downing Street Briefing Room.
STEFAN ROUSSEAU via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has begged the House of Lords not to block his Rwanda plan.

In a bizarre press conference, the prime minister pleaded with peers not to “frustrate the will of the people”.

And in comments likely to anger Tory MPs, he refused to guarantee that deportation fights to the east African country will take off this year, despite previously saying he wanted it to happen by the spring.

Sunak was speaking the morning after he saw off a Tory rebellion to win the Commons’ backing for his his flagship Safety of Rwanda Bill.

The draft legislation will now go to the House of Lords, where its opponents will try to amend it or kill it altogether.

But Sunak said passing the bill was now “an urgent national priority”.

He said: “There is now only one question: will the opposition in the appointed House of Lords try and frustrate the will of the people as expressed by the elected House or will they get on board and do the right thing? It is as simple as that.”

At the same time as the PM was speaking in Downing Street, the Home Office confirmed that a further 358 asylum seekers crossed the Channel in small boats yesterday - the highest one day total for the year so far.

Nevertheless, Sunak insisted: “We have a plan – and the plan is working.”

But asked directly whether the deportation flights will finally begin this year - two years after the Rwanda policy was first announced - Sunak would only say that it would happen “as soon as practically possible”.

The prime minister also repeatedly accused Labour of not having a plan to stop the boats, and said the number of crossings would increase if Keir Starmer was prime minister.

He said: “With all their efforts to block this bill, the Labour party have shown they simply do not get it.

“Their priority is not stopping the boats but stopping the planes removing people who have no right to be here. They may talk the talk. But they have no plan.”


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