Today, the House of Commons is due to debate and vote on the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill at second reading. This bill is a last ditch attempt by a failing Conservative Government to impress the right-wing factions within the party who are so opposed to the rich, pluralistic society that immigration has created in Britain.

The Supreme Court has already ruled that the Government’s Rwanda scheme, whereby the UK would refuse to process asylum claims from people seeking international protection and instead pass them off to Rwanda to deal with, is illegal. In spite of the UK having clear obligations to abide by international law, Rishi Sunak has brought forward this atrocious bill which makes a desperate attempt at making his Rwanda scheme workable by disregarding the rule of law and human rights.

Therefore, today, me and my Labour colleagues will vote against the Government’s horrific Safety of Rwanda Bill.

Since the beginning of the year, over 28,000 migrants have made the perilous journey across the English Channel. In my opinion, this is a result of the Government failing to offer them safe and legal routes to asylum. I want to see routes put in place that truly work, striking a blow against the people smugglers – not a pathetic attempt to palm off our responsibility to others to Rwanda.

Many people are fleeing war and persecution in the world, and every country has a responsibility to aid and support those escaping conflict. Earlier this year, I supported an amendment to the Illegal Migration Act that would have place a duty on the Government to establish these routes to asylum. Disappointingly, this was voted down by the Conservative Government.

This Bill doesn’t magically make Rwanda a safe country in which human rights will be upheld. The human rights of people deported to Rwanda will be at risk of severe and potentially irreversible violation. The bill demonstrates a lack of respect for the rule of law and goes against the very essence of British values.

The Rwanda scheme, like the Conservative Government, is not fit for purpose, and I will not support it.

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