House of Lords
House of Lords

Last night the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill returned to the House of Commons. As your MP I have strongly opposed this proposed new law at every opportunity. In July I voted 18 times to protect amendments made to the Bill in the House of Lords. When the Bill was returned to the Commons in December, I once again voted against it and yesterday I joined my Labour colleagues and supported each of the 10 amendments proposed by the Lords. 

The amendments I supported would have ensured that the Bill complied with domestic and international law and would require changes in the presence of evidence that Rwanda isn’t a safe country. The amendments also reversed changes to age assessments and prevented the removal of potential victims of modern slavery to Rwanda. You can find a list of all the amendments I supported here. 

Unfortunately, despite Labour leading the opposition in support of all these amendments, the government had the numbers to reject all of them and return the Bill back to the House of Lords. You can find a breakdown of the votes here. 

The Tories are in total chaos about this failing scheme which will cost the taxpayer over half a billion pounds. Their latest plan to pay failed asylum seekers to go voluntarily to Rwanda instead shows that even they know their main plan won’t work and they are just desperate to send a few symbolic flights before a General Election. Even the Home Office Permanent Secretary says there is no evidence it will work as a deterrent. This whole thing is a costly gimmick. 

Labour has a serious plan to smash the criminal smuggler gangs at source with a new cross border police unit and security partnership with Europol based on intelligence sharing. 

We would work internationally to address some of the humanitarian crises that are leading people to flee their homes including restoring the 0.7% aid commitment when the fiscal situation allows and strengthening support for the people of Afghanistan. 

The overwhelming majority of the millions of people worldwide fleeing war and persecution remain displaced in their own country or living in refugee camps in neighbouring countries. The much smaller proportion who make their way to the UK often do so because they have a link to our country. 

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