Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick has criticized the draft law aiming to revive the Rwanda asylum scheme, describing it as “weak” and likely to face legal challenges. In his opinion, the bill is destined to fail, and he refuses to lend his support to it. The legislation is seeking to establish in UK law that Rwanda is a safe country to send refugees to, which would help prevent legal challenges to flights. However, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has made stopping small boats from crossing the English Channel a top priority, as a significant number of individuals made the perilous journey last year.
Jenrick argues that the current bill will open the door to a variety of legal claims, rendering the scheme ineffective. He suggests that a deliberate choice has been made to introduce a bill that is destined to fail. Jenrick himself resigned from his position as immigration minister because he was unwilling to ask MPs to vote for a weak bill. The bill has caused divisions among Conservative MPs, with some believing it goes too far in bypassing the courts, while others argue it fails to go far enough in deterring crossings.
Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove supports the legislation and contends that only a small number of appeals would still be permitted. Different factions within the Tory party are seeking legal advice on the bill and will deliver their verdict before the vote takes place on Tuesday. Labour and opposition parties plan to vote against the bill, which means the government will need sufficient support from Tory MPs for it to pass.
Jenrick warns that unless the Tories take further action to address legal and illegal migration, they will face backlash from voters. The government has recently announced measures to reduce legal migration levels. Shadow work and pensions secretary Liz Kendall agrees with the government’s decision to raise the minimum salary requirement for a work visa.
This bill has ignited a heated debate within the Conservative party and across party lines. With the vote looming, it remains to be seen whether the government can rally enough support to pass the legislation, which carries significant implications for the UK’s approach to asylum and immigration.
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