Rod Liddle: 'No one will be sent to Rwanda this year' as Rishi Sunak braces for House of Lords debate

Monday 29 January 2024

Rod Liddle told TalkTV that “there will not be a single person transferred to Rwanda this year, and if there is, they’ll probably be Rwandan" as Rishi Sunak faces the Bill's House of Lords debate.

The Sun columnist said: "It is ineluctable because there are so many things ranged against the government on this issue.

"The first and most obvious is the fact that all lawyers and the House of Lords are against the government doing anything whatsoever to reduce the number of people coming over here as migrants. I have yet to hear anything from a lawyer, which has suggested how we might do that.

"I mean, we've got a real problem here, which is part of a bigger issue that we're becoming a kind of juristocracy, instead of a democracy, which is that government policies in the end get thwarted at every stage by the law courts."

The Prime Minister is braced for further battle in the Lords over his Bill to revive the Government’s Rwanda scheme as the legislation faces scrutiny from a number of prominent critics.

Some 71 members of the upper chamber are expected to speak at the second reading debate of the draft law on Monday.

Among them is the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has voiced profound concerns about the plan to send asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats on a one-way flight to Kigali.

Lord Carlile of Berriew, who earlier this month warned the Government is moving towards “totalitarianism” in its handling of the policy, is also due to appear.

The crossbench peer has suggested the Lords would seek to undo what he described as politicians “meddling” in the independent courts.

Mr Sunak’s Safety of Rwanda Bill survived third reading in the Commons after the Prime Minister saw off a Tory rebellion which had sought to toughen the legislation.

:: Government under pressure to offer asylum seekers ‘safe passage

:: Illegal migrants ‘treated worse than terrorists’

:: Five migrants die attempting to cross the Channel

MPs on the right of the party largely backed down following speculation that the draft law could be torpedoed unless amendments were made, including to ensure UK and international law cannot be used to block a person’s removal to Rwanda.

In the end just 11 Conservatives voted against the legislation but it faces a bigger test in the Lords, where many members have expressed unease about the plan.

The PM has urged peers against blocking “the will of the people” by opposing the Bill as he faces an election year having made “stopping the boats” a key pledge of his leadership.

But first blood was drawn in the Lords last week, when peers backed by 214 votes to 171 an unprecedented move seeking to delay a treaty with the east African nation which forms part of the Government’s plan.

The unelected second chamber backed calls for Parliament to not approve the pact until ministers can show the country is safe – though unlike the Commons, which has the power to delay ratification of a treaty, the Lords can only advise.