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Peers defy government pressure and push Rwanda Bill to next week

PEERS once again defied government pressure to rush through the Rwanda deportation Bill, pushing the legislation’s passage back to next week.

The House of Lords once again passed amendments to the Bill, demanding independent monitoring of Rwanda’s safety for refugees and exemption from deportation for those who had worked for the British military, including in Afghanistan.

At present the Bill unilaterally declares Rwanda “safe” in defiance of a Supreme Court judgment that it isn’t, and gives ministers the power to ignore emergency injunctions to prevent deportations.

Premier Rishi Sunak has dictated that the government will make no concessions on the legislation, so the parliamentary stand-off will stretch into next week.

MPs will consider the Lords amendments — the fourth set to be passed — on Monday. 

It is likely that the Lords, who have progressively diluted their opposition in the course of this week, will eventually back down.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has however said that the RAF could be used to fly desperate asylum-seekers out of the country once the government has authority to do so.

“We will do whatever we need to do to make sure that we can get these flights off, whether they are charter flights or other kinds of flights,” he said.

Labour continues to oppose the deportation plan on grounds of cost and practicality rather than the principle of deporting vulnerable refugees. Today the party called it a “hare-brained scheme.”

Charities are, however, likely to take further legal steps to block the scheme.

Seeing flights take off to Rwanda is a key part of the Tories’ re-election plan, in particular seeing off the threat from the hard-right Reform party.

In a related development, culture warrior and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch declared today that Britain’s wealth had no connection with its history of colonialism and imperialism.

It is, instead, all down to the 1688 “glorious revolution,” she told an audience in the City of London.

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