House of Commons passes Rwanda immigration bill – DW – 01/17/2024

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak He received his government's plans to send people to seek asylum United Kingdom to do Rwanda A stay was considered by the lower house of parliament on Wednesday.

Sunak faced a potential revolt from the moderate and right wing of his Conservative Party. A policy he and the party insisted upon In recent months amid pressure from the right.

Lawmakers voted 320 to 276 to overturn a UK Supreme Court ban on the Rwanda plan. But Sunak has staked his authority on a controversial immigration policy that still faces political and legal hurdles.

What was discussed in the parliamentary debates?

Opposition Leader Keir Starmer approached the issue from a different angle. At Prime Minister's Questions in the Lok Sabha, he referred his first question to Sunak, noting the government's recent admission that it had lost about 85% of the 5,000 people. earmarked for disposal to Rwanda.

He asked if the government had been able to find them before arguing that the policy was expensive and ineffective.

“This is not a plan, it's a travesty. Only this government can afford to waste hundreds of millions of pounds on a removal policy that doesn't remove anyone,” Starmer told the lower house of parliament, before listing other past problems with the plan.

“He hasn't got a clue where they are, has he?” Starmer quizzed the room after his original question about the missing persons was not answered. “I can tell you one place they are not, and that is Rwanda. Because the only people he sent to Rwanda were government ministers.”

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The government defeated a parliamentary motion by hard-line conservatives to make the bill even tougher on Tuesday, but a fifth of the party – more than expected – backed the plan.

Two members of the party, Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith, resigned in protest, writing in their co-signed resignation letter: “Prime Minister, you promised to do whatever it takes to stop the boats.”

Conservative Party Deputy Leader Lee Anderson resigned in opposition on Tuesday, saying he could not sign the government's bill.Image: Yui Mok/Empix/Image Alliance

To scrap the changes, the government needed the votes of the opposition to secure a majority.

What is Rwanda policy?

Britain's bid to relocate anyone who enters the country illegally to Rwanda so they can claim asylum without the prospect of residency in the UK first dates back to 2021, when Sunak was finance minister under former prime minister Boris Johnson.

Implementing the plan has proven challenging for successive Conservative governments amid political and political turmoil Legal challenges identically.

The embattled Conservatives have leaned hard on their 'stop the boats' pledge, touted as a means of reducing immigration, in the face of rising legal and illegal migration numbers after Brexit.Image: James Manning/AP/Image Alliance

The idea came soon after Brexit – once advertised to the public as a means of reducing migration – both Legal and illegal migration levels rose sharply despite the UK's exit from the EU.

It comes amid pressure from the far-right, particularly former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, to cross the English Channel in small boats, mostly from France.

The plan voted on Wednesday aims to limit the scope for people to challenge the process in the courts.

But the government has said it is on the right track here, as Rwanda has said it will only pursue an agreement deemed not to violate international humanitarian law.

Hardliners want clearer language on the prospect of challenging it in the European courts, particularly on proving that another commitment from the Brexit debate is difficult to fulfill.

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Why is the issue important to Sunak?

In power since 2010, Sunak's fifth term as prime minister (and third of this legislative term), the Conservatives trailed the opposition Labor Party by a wide margin in the polls.

Elections should be held by January next year, possibly a little earlier.

The party's latest platform of five key pledges includes stabilizing the economy and curbing inflation, one to reduce hospital waiting lists in the nationalized health service and the last to “stop the boats”.

The policy may target disaffected voters and right-wing members of the Conservative Party. There is currently no strong political force to the right of the Tories in the UK, but Brexit frontman Nigel Farage – now living mostly in the media – has created a suitable platform for immediate mobilization in the Reform UK group. Some recent polls have estimated that he could get 10% of the vote if he contested the general election.

UK court rules on 'flaws' in Rwanda extradition plan

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Is Europe watching closely amid similar plans?

Wednesday's vote will pique the interest of many politicians across Europe.

The EU is currently working on its own migration reformsMany member states have recently realized that Britain's government is struggling and are mooting plans that would at least remind them of that.

Germany's opposition CDU/CSU proposes that Berlin also joins the government in Kigali..

msh/rt (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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