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Rwanda Bill sustains fresh defeats as peers demand rethink of asylum policy

The latest Government setback means a continuation of the wrangling over the proposed law aimed at ‘stopping the boats’.

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Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda deportation plan has been given a fresh beating by peers, amid a continuing stand-off over the controversial policy.

Despite MPs overturning previous changes by the House of Lords, the unelected chamber again pressed demands for revisions to the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill.

The latest Government setbacks mean a continuation of wrangling at Westminster over the proposed law that aims to clear the way to send asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats on a one-way flight to Kigali.

However, the margin of the defeats was narrowed as the Tory administration drafted in rarely seen peers to bolster numbers.

The Bill and a treaty with Rwanda are intended to prevent further legal challenges to the stalled asylum scheme after the Supreme Court ruled the plan was unlawful.

As well as compelling judges to regard the east African country as safe, it would give ministers the power to ignore emergency injunctions.

But the Lords insisted on an amendment to restore the jurisdiction of domestic courts in relation to the safety of Rwanda and enable them to intervene.

Peers also renewed their demand for the Bill to have “due regard” for international and key domestic laws, including human rights and modern slavery legislation.

In addition, they backed a requirement that Rwanda cannot be treated as a safe country until an independent monitoring body has verified that protections contained in the treaty are fully implemented and remain in place.

An exemption from removal for those who worked with the UK military or government overseas, such as Afghan interpreters, secured renewed support.

The Lords’ insistence on the amendments ensures a third round of “ping-pong” over the Bill, where legislation is batted between the two Houses until agreement is reached.

Ahead of the next election, Mr Sunak has made “stopping the boats” a key pledge of his leadership.

Earlier, a Number 10 spokeswoman said: “We remain focused on getting the Bill passed as soon as possible so we can get flights off the ground and break the business model of the criminal gangs.

“The Prime Minister’s message to parliamentarians across both Houses hasn’t changed. We need to act to save lives and that’s what this Bill will help us to do.”

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