Daily Mail

PM ‘focused’ after historic Lords’ defeat over Rwanda

- By David Barrett and Harriet Line

DOWNING Street vowed to press ahead with the Rwanda treaty even after the scheme suffered a fresh defeat in the Lords.

In an unpreceden­ted move on Monday night, peers backed a motion which said the Government should postpone ratifying the internatio­nal agreement.

The vote indicated how the Upper House is likely to treat another crucial element of the Government’s plan — the Safety of Rwanda Bill — when it is debated on Monday.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman yesterday said Rishi Sunak ‘remains focused on delivering for the British people and stopping the boats. We continue to urge the Lords to work with us as we progress this Bill through Parliament’.

He said ratificati­on of the treaty would continue and the Lords vote wouldn’t stop that. The treaty, signed by Home Secretary James Cleverly in Kigali last month, sets out safeguards over the treatment of migrants sent to Rwanda.

Illegal migration deal a ‘huge step’

Former Labour attorney general Lord Goldsmith, who chairs the Lords internatio­nal agreements committee, said in Monday’s scrutiny session that the measures were ‘ unimplemen­ted and untested’ and tabled moves to postpone its ratificati­on until new safeguards had bedded in. Peers backed the proposals, which were opposed by the Government.

It was the first time the Lords had voted to block a treaty since reforms were introduced in 2010.

The £240 million Rwanda scheme – to deter migrants from crossing the Channel by small boat – proposes removing illegal migrants to the east African nation to claim asylum there rather than here. But it was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court in November.

Yesterday the Prime Minister also met with Belgian counterpar­t Alexander De Croo to discuss closer work to battle illegal migration.

Mr De Croo said the deal, in the next few weeks, would be a ‘huge step forward’ and see a return to ‘the pre-Brexit situation, where we can share informatio­n as we did before’.

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