Rwanda Relocation Scheme: Supreme Court Judgment

Home Department – in the House of Commons am ar 27 Tachwedd 2023.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Steven Bonnar Steven Bonnar Shadow SNP Spokesperson (DEFRA Team Member)

What recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the Supreme Court judgment of 15 November 2023 on the Rwanda relocation scheme.

Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly The Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Rwanda scheme remains an important part of our response to illegal migration and people smuggling. We will continue to negotiate with the Government of Rwanda on a treaty that will be underpinned by domestic law so that the Rwanda scheme will join the other effective parts of our response in stopping the boats.

Photo of Steven Bonnar Steven Bonnar Shadow SNP Spokesperson (DEFRA Team Member)

The Prime Minister has indicated his intention to override the Supreme Court by introducing emergency laws and a new treaty with Rwanda to save his unlawful deportation plans. So far, the UK has paid the Rwanda Government £140 million and the Home Office has spent £1.4 million on failed legal challenges, with no asylum seekers being sent there as of yet. How much has the Home Office spent in total on the Rwanda scheme? Can the Secretary of State give us a figure, please?

Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly The Secretary of State for the Home Department

The funding from the Home Office will be reported in the usual, appropriate way. I do not have the figures to hand, but I will make sure the House is updated on the costs.

The hon. Gentleman seems to misunderstand how one responds to a legal judgment. He describes it as “overriding,” but I suggest that when the Government address the issues set down by the Supreme Court, they will not be overriding but respecting the voice of the Supreme Court.

I would make the point that we are committed to dealing with illegal migrants. I hear no such commitment from the Opposition. Until they come up with clear plans for how they will deal with this issue, they should support the actions the Government are actually taking.

Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

Has the Home Secretary been struck, as I have, by the very small number of Opposition Members standing to contribute to questions on migration? Does he agree that, if democracies both within the EU and, like ourselves, outside the EU cannot find a solution to this problem, we will see the increasing emergence of far-right politicians in positions of power? That ought to frighten us all.

Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly The Secretary of State for the Home Department

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. This Government were criticised by the Opposition and by voices across the continent when we started to take action to address the significant increase in the volumes of illegal migration. Countries across the continent are now looking at us in order to emulate the actions we are taking. Illegal migration has gone from something that the Labour party believed was a non-issue to being a core issue for Governments across Europe and North America. If the good people do not grip this issue, the bad people will attempt to do so, and I will never let that happen.

Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Chair, Home Affairs Committee, Chair, Home Affairs Committee

The Home Affairs Committee has taken a particular interest in small-boat crossings. We produced a report last year that I suggest the new Home Secretary might want to look at. We have also visited France and Belgium this year. Owing to our interest and expertise in this area, will the Home Secretary consider giving the Home Affairs Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights the opportunity to carry out pre-legislative scrutiny of any emergency legislation that he plans to bring forward?

Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly The Secretary of State for the Home Department

There is an urgency to the legislation that we seek to put forward and, although pre-legislative scrutiny has a part to play, I will not do anything that delays the implementation of this incredibly important legislation.

Photo of Simon Clarke Simon Clarke Ceidwadwyr, Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland

It is imperative if we are to crack the business model of the evil people smugglers that we operationalise the Rwanda scheme. May I register my profound conviction that the disapplication of elements of the European convention on human rights and the refugee convention will be necessary? The Court of Appeal cited human rights and the Supreme Court cited refoulement. What will it be next time, in the absence of Parliament expressly asserting the will of this House?

Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly The Secretary of State for the Home Department

My right hon. Friend makes an incredibly important point, although I do not want to prejudge the content of the Bill. I listened carefully to his points, and he and the rest of the House should understand that we will do everything we can to ensure that we break the business model of the evil people smugglers he highlights and drive down the small-boat arrivals. He is absolutely right that the deterrent effect of the Rwanda scheme is a key element of that multi-strand approach.