MPs reject Rwanda Bill amendments as showdown with House of Lords continues

15 April 2024, 23:41 | Updated: 16 April 2024, 02:58

MPs overturned changes made to the Rwanda Bill
MPs overturned changes made to the Rwanda Bill. Picture: Alamy/Parliament TV

By Emma Soteriou

MPs have rejected amendments to the Rwanda Bill in an ongoing stand-off with the House of Lords.

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MPs discussed six further changes made by peers on Monday after returning from Easter recess.

The government tabled motions to disagree with them while also moving its own proposal.

The bill seeks to regard Rwanda as a safe country in a bid to send asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats there.

It will not receive royal assent until both the House of Commons and House of Lords agree its final wording.

The amendments overturned included an attempt by peers to ensure the bill has "due regard" for domestic and international law and that Rwanda is only regarded as safe for as long as the provisions of the UK's treaty with that country are in place.

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Peers are expected to consider the bill again on Tuesday and make further changes before it returns to the Commons.

Tory MP Sir Bill Cash said peers need to "calm down" and allow the legislation to progress.

"The real question now is, let's get this bill done, let's get the House of Lords to calm down a bit, let us also at the same time wait for what is inevitably going to be another claim and then see what the judgment of the Supreme Court is on the wording - providing it is clear and unambiguous - of this bill," he said.

"That is all I need to say, I may come back again however if there is another insistence by the Lords on these ridiculous amendments."

Shadow Home Office minister Stephen Kinnock said the Rwanda scheme is "doomed to fail".

He said: "The boats have kept coming, the backlog has kept growing, and the people smugglers are still laughing all the way to the bank.

"Two years of headline-chasing gimmicks, two years of pursuing a policy that is fundamentally unworkable, unaffordable and unlawful. Two years of flogging this dead horse."