Rishi Sunak faces a looming challenge in the House of Lords as peers prepare to thwart his contentious Rwanda deportation plan. Today, former Labour attorney general Peter Goldsmith will lead a motion seeking to delay the ratification of the new Rwanda treaty until the government can demonstrate the country’s safety.
The international agreements committee, chaired by Lord Goldsmith, insists on additional measures before they can endorse the treaty. These measures include an improved complaints process, training for Rwandan officials, and a new asylum law. The motion, expected to garner support from Labour, Liberal Democrats, and crossbench peers, could potentially delay the treaty for months, impacting Sunak’s plans to initiate flights to Rwanda.
In a parallel move, the Liberal Democrats plan to challenge the Rwanda bill with a ‘fatal motion’, claiming it breaches international law and wastes taxpayer money. Success of these motions would prevent the bill from receiving a second reading, potentially forcing the government back to the drawing board.
Despite the unanimous November 2023 Supreme Court ruling against the government’s Rwanda plan, a treaty was signed with Rwanda, awaiting parliamentary ratification. The proposed bill, now heading to the House of Lords, seeks to legally establish Rwanda as a safe destination. However, last week three Conservative frontbenchers resigned, criticizing the plan as insufficient.
Amidst political turbulence, recent YouGov polling indicates varying support for the Rwanda plan. Approximately 77% of Conservative voters are in favor, contrasting with 20% of Labour voters and 48% overall. These statistics underscore the divisive nature of the issue.
As the debate unfolds in the House of Lords, the outcome remains uncertain, potentially reshaping the trajectory of Sunak’s controversial deportation plan and its implications for a general election. The statistics reflect a divided public opinion, adding complexity to the political landscape surrounding this contentious issue.