UK House of Commons passes bill declaring Rwanda a ‘safe country’ despite Supreme Court ruling – JURIST

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The UK’s House of Commons passed a bill to declare Rwanda a safe country by 320 votes to 276, seeking to bypass the courts to implement the government’s plan to send some asylum seekers to pursue their claims in Rwanda. The Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill will now move to the House of Lords, where it may face pushback on its provisions.

The vote came after MPs debated a series of amendments, including one put forward by former Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick, who resigned earlier this month over the legislation, that would have explicitly declared ECHR interim measures against the Rwanda plan nonbinding, instead of allowing ministers to choose whether to comply with such measures. The former minister’s amendment was subsequently rejected.

A Conservative Party rebellion saw three MPs resign on Tuesday over concerns that the bill would not be able to withstand judicial scrutiny. Conservative MPs who voted against the bill include Jenrick and former Home Secretary Suella Braverman.

Other opponents of the bill voiced concerns with its goal of bypassing a Supreme Court ruling that declared the government’s Rwanda plan unlawful.  Stephen Kinnock, the Labour Party’s Shadow Minister for Immigration, called the bill “an assault on the rule of law and an affront to the separation of powers.” Similarly, the Law Society of England and Wales said passing the Rwanda Bill into law risked “the rule of law and access to justice risk being corroded, all for a policy that will have limited impact.”

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