Rwanda Bill becomes law after weeks of parliamentary deadlock

Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda Bill has become law after weeks of parliamentary deadlock, paving the way for deportation flights to get off the ground.

The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill became an Act of Parliament after being granted royal assent, the Lord Speaker told the House of Lords on Thursday.

The accompanying treaty the UK has signed with the east African nation has also been ratified, the Home Office confirmed later in the afternoon.

Speaking to the PA news agency during a visit to the small island of Lampedusa – branded Italy’s busiest migration hotspot – James Cleverly said managing borders “has never come for free” and told those wanting to delay the plan that there is “nothing moral about allowing people to drown in the sea at the hands of criminals” as he vowed to emulate Italian efforts to tackle migrant crossings.

On his return to Westminster, he insisted it is “possible” to stop Channel crossings but it was “nonsense” to speculate on how many people would have to be sent to Rwanda to achieve that.

He also declined to comment on French president Emmanuel Macron’s criticism of migration policies that involve sending people to African countries as “a betrayal of our values”.

Campaigners have already called for the law, and other sweeping asylum reforms already introduced by the Government, to be repealed – warning they could cause a “system meltdown” costing the taxpayer billions of pounds.

Parliament passed legislation aimed at getting the Government’s plan to give asylum seekers a one-way ticket to Kigali off the ground earlier this week, just hours before news of another tragedy in the Channel when five migrants died trying to make the journey to the UK.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has arrested four people in the wake of the deaths.

The Prime Minister, who has staked his reputation on his pledge to “stop the boats”, has described the Rwanda plan as an “indispensable deterrent”, despite it being plagued by a series of setbacks since the deal was signed two years ago.

Officials are now working to put the plan into action, with Mr Sunak suggesting the first plane carrying asylum seekers could depart in July.

He said an airfield is “on stand-by” and commercial charter planes have been booked “for specific slots”.

In a Downing Street press conference on Monday Mr Sunak acknowledged it could still take 10 to 12 weeks to get flights in the air, in a blow to his earlier target of seeing this take place in the “spring” of this year.

This means it could be more than two years since the first flight attempted under the deal was grounded amid last-minute legal challenges.

Mr Cleverly insisted there would be “multiple flights per month, through the summer and beyond” once they eventually get off the ground.

(PA Graphics)

Opponents to the multi-million pound plan, and migrants who are told they are to be sent to Rwanda, could issue legal challenges in a bid to stop the flights.

But it is unclear whether any further legal action would succeed in light of the news laws.

– Advertisement –
– Advertisement –