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Main Lords debate of Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill

30 January 2024

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On Monday 29 January, members of the House of Lords discussed the key principles of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill.

The aim of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill is to confirm Rwanda as a safe third country for the removal of people entering the UK under new immigration laws, and to deter migration by unsafe and illegal routes.

Debate on the draft law

During second reading, members discussed the main topics in the bill and drew attention to specific concerns or areas where they think amendments (changes) are needed.

Members speaking

Lord Stewart of Dirleton (Conservative) put forward the debate. 

Over 70 members of the Lords contributed to the debate, reflecting the wide range of knowledge and expertise within the House, including:

Former Home Secretaries Lord Blunkett (Labour) and Lord Clarke of Nottingham (Conservative) also took part in the debate.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Conservative), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Home Office, responded on behalf of the government.

Motion to decline

Members also considered a motion in the name of Lord German (Liberal Democrat), to decline to give the bill a second reading on the grounds that the draft law:

  • places the UK at risk of breaching international law commitments
  • undermines the jurisdiction of the courts
  • will lead to substantial taxpayer costs
  • fails to provide safe and legal routes for refugees
  • does not include measures to tackle people smugglers.

Members voted 84 in favour and 206 against, so the motion was not agreed.

How to follow

Explore further information

Find out more about the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill in the House of Lords Library briefing.

Next steps

Committee stage, the first chance for line by line examination of the bill, is scheduled to begin on Monday 12 February

Image: Aboodi Vesakaran / Pexels

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