Published date : 17 April, 2024

Gordon MP Richard Thomson has decried the UK Government for continuing to push forward their controversial ‘Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, after the House of Commons voted down a second round of amendments from the House of Lords.

The Bill aims to declare Rwanda a safe country, after the UK Supreme Court ruled plans to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing breached human rights law.  The legislative ‘ping-pong’ between the House of Commons and House of Lords continues, after the Lords proposed to include several protections to the Bill, including:

  • An amendment to make sure the legislation has "due regard" for international law
  • An amendment that states Rwanda can only be considered ‘safe’ while the provision in the treaty with the UK is in place
  • An amendment to check whether Rwanda complies with its treaty obligations
  • An amendment allowing individual appeals based on their safety in Rwanda
  • An amendment requiring age assessments for those being deported to be carried out by the local authority
  • An amendment stopping deportations of those who say they are victims of modern slavery
  • An amendment to exempt from deportation those who have served with or for the UK's armed forces

All amendments were voted down by the UK Government.  The Bill will now return to the Lords for further consideration, with further votes expected later this week.

Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:

“I urge the Prime Minister to reconsider his approach, as this legislation is wildly out of step with the values of the communities I serve across Gordon.  This circus continues to toy with the lives of vulnerable people, wasting millions of taxpayers’ money on a scheme doomed to fail. 

“The UK Government should drop this scheme and instead ensure safe and legal routes for those seeking asylum.  The system needs processing resources, not a landing pad in Rwanda to fling vulnerable people to.  The premise of this idea is not only economically flawed, but also morally repugnant.

“Instead of pandering to right-wing anti-immigration extremists in the Conservative Party, the Prime Minister should bring forward sensible legislation which allows the skills shortage in the labour market to be addressed which would benefit the hospitality industry, the food processing sector and the farming industry the length and breadth of Scotland.”

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