Daily Mail

Final Lords showdown on Rwanda Bill

- By Policy Editor

DEFIANT peers defeated the Government again over the Rwanda Bill last night, paving the way for a final showdown today.

Ministers lost all four votes held in the Lords on the legislatio­n aimed at finally getting deportatio­n flights off the ground.

The first amendment put into the Bill, by Labour’s Lord Coaker, demanded ‘due regard’ for internatio­nal and domestic laws, including on human rights and modern slavery.

A second requiremen­t, tabled by crossbench peer Lord Hope of Craighead, stated that Rwanda cannot be treated as safe until certified by an independen­t monitoring body.

The third, by Labour’s Baroness Chakrabart­i, gave courts new powers to prevent deportatio­ns. The final amendment by Labour’s Lord Browne exempts people who worked for the UK military, such as Afghan interprete­rs, from being sent to Rwanda.

It means the Safety of Rwanda Bill will return to the Commons today, where the amendments will be undone again as the Conservati­ves have a majority, before being sent back to the Lords later in the afternoon in the third round of ‘Parliament­ary ping-pong’.

Many expect the unelected peers, even on the Labour benches, will not inflict further defeats on the Government, in line with convention. That would allow the Bill to gain Royal Assent by the end of the week, paving the way for flights to take off, pending lastminute legal challenges. Viscount Hailsham, a minister under John Major, was the only Tory peer to vote against the Government yesterday on one of the amendments.

He said there is a ‘simple risk that Rwanda will cease to be safe’ one day as it is in a ‘fragile and volatile part of the world’ and ‘doesn’t have a long tradition of democracy’. He added: ‘It requires future decision-makers to assume it is safe when the rest of the world knows that it is unsafe. Now that is a nonsense. It is unjust and it is bad government.’

The amendment to save Afghan interprete­rs from being deported had most support, with 275 for and 218 against. An ex-minister told the Mail: ‘The Government would be wise to offer a concession on the Afghanista­n issue.’

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