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UK's sacked Home Secretary warns voting against Rwanda Bill

IANS | January 14, 2024 10:40 AM

LONDON: With the Rwanda asylum bill set to return to the UK Parliament next week, sacked Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she will vote against the legislation if there were “no improvements” in it.

One of the toughest immigration legislation ever introduced to Parliament, the bill which aims to deport asylum seekers arriving in the UK to Rwanda, will face its third reading vote after MPs debate and vote on amendments to it on January 16-17.

“I’m only going to support a bill that works. As currently drafted, this bill does not work. And if there are no improvements to it, I will have to vote against it, I’m afraid, " Braverman said in an interview with GB News.

"I’m sent to parliament to vote for things, to be for things or to be against them, not to sit on the fence…"

The third reading vote is the final chance for the Commons to debate the contents of a bill before it is sent to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.

Right wing Conservative MPs have been warning Prime Minister Rishi Sunak -- who narrowly won the immigration debate in Parliament last month -- that his Rwanda bill will not work unless it is significantly beefed up.

Braverman said that the third piece of legislation, which the government has put through to stop the boats, will not work as it is "fundamentally fatally flawed", and "pretending otherwise betrays British people".

Citing reasons, the Indian-origin former cabinet minister said that it doesn't stop the scenario, as seen in June 2022, when the first deportation flight was blocked by a last-minute injunction from the European Court of Human Rights.

According to her, the bill has to "preclude individual claimants" -- that is, illegal migrants who have come to the UK on boats -- from legally challenging the government's powers to detain or to remove them.

"So what we'll see is wide scale and repetitive individual claims being made through the courts time and time again only having the effect of delaying their removal to Rwanda, " Braverman told the GB News.

Echoing her views, Robert Jenrick, who resigned as immigration minister over the bill, told the BBC: “It’s my strong view that this bill doesn’t work, it doesn’t create that deterrent effect and so we need to improve it.”

Sunak, who has said he would welcome “bright ideas” to improve the bill, stated earlier that the "endless scourge" of illegal migration is costing the UK billions of pounds and costing innocent lives.

“Through this new landmark emergency legislation, we will control our borders, deter people taking perilous journeys across the channel and end the continuous legal challenges filling our courts, " Sunak had said in a statement released by the Home Office last month.

Once the bill receives Royal Assent, it will pave the way for the UK to begin next steps in processing people for relocation and starting removal flights to Rwanda.

According to the Home Office, the British government intends to fast-track the emergency legislation through the House as soon as possible.

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