Amendment 17

Part of Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - Report (1st Day) – in the House of Lords am 7:45 pm ar 4 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord German Lord German Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol 7:45, 4 Mawrth 2024

No, we simply keep the Human Rights Act, which does the job we are seeking here. Naturally, of course, if the Government want to move and create a special group, as here—what they call “illegal migrants”—what about the other groups that might follow from it? It is very clear that there may well be an issue with protesters—groups that are not in vogue with the Government. It is a very dangerous precedent and this is a warning sign. Fundamentally, what we are seeing here is a chasing of short-term headlines that will have a significant consequence for people’s rights in this country.

Not content with arguments that they are having with the views of the ECHR and the UNHCR, the Government in the last seven days have now drawn swords with the United Nations Human Rights Council. Published last Friday, the council’s report said:

“Prohibiting courts and tribunals in the UK from applying and interpreting principles of domestic human rights law and international law would undermine the ability of the courts to protect all those under UK jurisdiction from violations of their human rights as provided under international law”.

It goes on to say that the Government should look at this matter again and the United Nations has offered to work with the UK Government on this matter. So, when he responds, will the noble Lord tell us whether the Government have read the United Nations Human Rights Council’s review and whether they are prepared to meet the council and discuss this matter further?

There is also a logical inconsistency in what the Government are doing; they cannot have it both ways. They want to rely on the international convention and jurisprudence in justifying the disapplication of the Human Rights Act, but they are then seeking to disapply the findings of that same court in relation to the same international convention with respect to the consideration of interim orders. You cannot have it both ways and the Government need to be clear on that matter.

All the comments that the noble Baroness, Lady Chakrabarti, made about Amendment 17 are absolutely accurate, but one thing worries me completely and that is the part of the amendment that basically takes away every law that this country might apply in this direction—domestic law and common law. For goodness’ sake, with common law as interpreted by the courts, I do not know how you find which parts of it you want to disapply. You have to be specific in what you say if you want to disapply anything of this nature. Amendment 17 looks to me like a complete wiping out, blanking out and blindfolding of every single possible piece of legislation that might stand in the way of this Government’s view, and that absolutely must affect the balance of the rule of law in this country.

I look forward to seeing how the Government will deal with that amendment, but I suggest they might need to consider how they move forward with no further disapplication of the Human Rights Act.