ANI Photo | UK: Rishi Sunak’s ambitious Rwanda bill delayed again after parliamentary defeats

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s much anticipated Rwanda plan suffered another blow after the UK House of Lords on Wednesday voted to reinsert amendments for the plan, Al Jazeera reported.
With the support of opposition Labour and cross-bench peers, as well as some rebel Conservatives, including Lord Ken Clarke, a former Conservative chancellor, the UK’s upper house proposed 10 changes to the Safety of Rwanda Bill earlier this month, all of which were rejected by legislators in the Commons on Monday.
However, Wednesday’s decision by the Lords to reinstate at least some of its original changes means that PM Sunak faces a race against time to make good on his commitment to start the process of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda before June.
The UK government says that Rwanda Plan is designed to deter “migrants” from attempting to cross the English Channel – one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes – to reach Britain.
Last year, 29,437 people, including many from Afghanistan and Syria, made the Channel crossing in small boats. Most were hoping to claim asylum in the United Kingdom.
Sunak, who became prime minister in October 2022, has made it the mission of his government to put a stop to these arrivals by following through on a Conservative pledge to “stop the boats”. This involves deporting some asylum seekers from the UK to the East African country where their asylum applications would then be processed, Al Jazeera reported.
However, the Rwanda legislation, which was first announced by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in April 2022, has been plagued by controversy and delay.
In November last year, the UK’s Supreme Court ruled that Rwanda “was not a safe country” for asylum seekers, effectively scuppering the legislation.
Following this setback, Sunak introduced “Safety of Rwanda” bill in December, through which the Commons deemed the African republic safe by majority vote. If approved by the House of Lords, this will, in effect, bypass the ruling of the Supreme Court.
By the end of 2023, the United Kingdom had paid Rwanda 240 million pounds (USD 304 million) as part of its five-year relocation deal, which, according to reports, will cost the UK government at least 370 million pounds (USD 470 million) in total.
The votes by the Lords in favour of the amendments to Sunak’s “Safety of Rwanda” Bill means that the legislation has to return to the Commons in a process known as “ping-pong” where the two parliamentary chambers battle it out until the final wording is agreed.
Notably, the opposition Labour party has already promised to scrap the Rwanda plans if it comes to power at the next general election, which must be held by January next year but is widely expected to take place later this year, Al Jazeera reported.

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