The government led by Rishi Sunak will introduce a complete legislation to parliament in order to overturn the supreme court’s prohibition on deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda. This move is expected to spark a conflict with Members of Parliament and members of the House of Lords, and it also raises uncertainty about the planned commencement of deportation flights by spring.
The legislation is expected to be released in two weeks, following the autumn statement next week. It will be considered primary law, which requires it to go through the standard process in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, according to a statement from Downing Street.
“We aim to complete this task expeditiously,” stated a spokesperson for Sunak, also mentioning that the pace will be influenced by other parties and the Commons speaker, Lindsay Hoyle. “We plan to communicate with all members of the house during this process.”
On Wednesday, during a press conference following the supreme court’s unanimous ruling against the plan, Sunak proposed the idea of emergency legislation to declare Rwanda as a safe destination for asylum seekers to be transported to by flights. He stated that if enacted, this legislation would allow for flights to commence in the spring, although he did not make any guarantees.
Although laws have been known to be passed in a single day, emergency legislation does not have any special privileges and requires support from all parties, which is unlikely to happen in this situation.
According to a spokesperson, Sunak will encourage members of Parliament and the House of Lords to support the law as it aligns with the desires of voters. The government believes that this action is in line with the wishes of the public, and they are confident that parliament will also recognize this. However, they will have the opportunity to examine the specifics of the law.
When questioned about what proof the government could provide to demonstrate that the public desires the flights to proceed, he stated: “I believe that the Rwanda migration partnership is still a goal that the public expects us to fulfill.”
The recent court decision was a major setback for Sunak’s efforts to prevent asylum seekers from arriving in the UK through unofficial means, specifically by crossing the Channel in small boats. The plan involves the belief that people will be deterred from making the crossing if they know they will be deported and unable to return to the UK.
The panel of five judges stated that there was proof that asylum seekers may be at risk of “refoulement,” meaning they could be returned to their home countries where they may encounter harm, even if they have a valid claim for asylum.
Sunak has additionally revealed a proposal to implement a comprehensive agreement with Rwanda regarding their treatment of incoming individuals. It may be released as soon as the following week. However, this is not a speedy procedure as there is a minimum wait time of 21 days of the Commons being in session before treaties can be officially approved.
The spokesperson for Sunak stated that, despite this, the government believes that using both legislation and the treaty is the quickest way to resume flights by preventing potential legal challenges.
The government believes that the bill would put an end to widespread legal challenges, such as judicial reviews. However, it is uncertain if individuals facing deportation would still be able to take legal action in court.
A representative for Sunak stated that they were confident in No 10’s ability to resolve the supreme court’s worries regarding the well-being of asylum seekers in Rwanda. They explained that significant efforts have been made in the past few months to address the court’s concerns, such as enhancing the standards of asylum decision-making and implementing stronger judicial supervision of the process.
“We believe that our extensive preparation for this potential outcome will address the concerns raised by the court. It is clear that the court’s perspective was based on a situation that occurred 15 months ago.”
Sunak still faces a considerable political danger as he is under immense pressure from the conservative wing to initiate deportations. Despite this, the prime minister’s indirect threats about potential involvement of the European court of human rights have caused concern among moderate Conservative MPs.
The spokesperson for Sunak stated that any actions taken by foreign courts would prompt the government to reconsider its international relationships, not only with the Strasbourg court but also with the UN refugee convention. No additional information was provided.