Motion A

Part of Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - Commons Reason – in the House of Lords am 11:45 pm ar 22 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Anderson of Ipswich Lord Anderson of Ipswich Crossbench 11:45, 22 Ebrill 2024

My Lords, Amendment 3J in my name turned out to be the last one standing. Perhaps I may say just a few words at its funeral. It was not much, perhaps, compared with some of those amendments that had already been defeated. Indeed, it survived so long under the guidance of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope of Craighead, who I am delighted to see back in his place, precisely because it was so modest and unthreatening to the Government’s policy. But it at least touched on a central disease of this Bill and perhaps of our body politic more generally: the imputation of decisions to Parliament to reduce the possibilities for challenge and the pretence that by asserting something to be true, even in the teeth of the evidence, one can not only make it true but keep it true for ever.

Many people, some of them perhaps still watching even now, will have wished us to keep on fighting, but without the threat of double insistence—which remains part of our constitutional armoury, but which did not command the necessary political support on this occasion—there would have been no point in doing so. The purpose of ping-pong is to persuade the Government, through force of argument, to come to the table and agree a compromise. They have refused pointedly to do so, and after four rounds of ping-pong, their control of the Commons remains as solid as ever.

The time has now come to acknowledge the primacy of the elected House and to withdraw from the fray. We do so secure at least in the knowledge that the so-called judgment of Parliament was not the judgment of this House, and that we tried our hardest to achieve something a little more sensible. We must take comfort from such assurances as the Minister has been able to give and hold the Government to them. This is the Government’s Bill, resolutely free of any outside influence. As a patriot, I can only hope—though I am afraid, without much optimism—that it will bring benefits, in some way, commensurate to its real and painful cost.