The UK Government’s Rwanda Bill: The Story Goes On

Houses of Parliament at dusk, London, UK (Photo by Eric Hossinger /

Peers defeated the government on all ten votes, causing further setbacks for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak over his contentious deportation bill concerning Rwanda.

The vote on Wednesday took place two days after the Prime Minister suffered his worst defeat in the House of Lords at the hands of the opposition, which was led by the archbishop of Canterbury and former Conservative ministers, who pushed through five amendments. The Guardian notes that the Safety of Rwanda Bill will face more political ping-pong when it returns to the Commons due to the upper chamber’s string of setbacks.

By a vote of 244 to 160, peers decided not to send individuals who have put themselves in danger while working for the UK government or armed forces abroad to Rwanda. The partners and dependents of those individuals are also excluded by the Labour backbench amendment.

Regarding protections for those harmed by modern slavery, the government was also defeated. By a vote of 246 to 171, peers decided against sending victims of human trafficking and modern slavery back to Rwanda without their permission.

According to the amendment, a person should not be removed from the National Referral Mechanism until a “conclusive grounds” decision has been made if the National Referral Mechanism determines that they are a potential victim based on “reasonable grounds.” If a person has “conclusive grounds” to believe they are a victim, they cannot be removed from their country without their consent if doing so would jeopardize their safety, well-being, or chance of becoming a victim of human trafficking again.

Peers also backed the ministers’ efforts to release a schedule for the removals to the African nation. By a vote of 228 to 184, the House of Lords approved Labour’s amendment 41 to the Act. The amendment aims to make sure that the government makes public the number of individuals it intends to send to Kigali, the timeline for their removal, and details regarding plans for individuals who will not be sent to the nation within the time frame allowed by the UK’s treaty with Rwanda.



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