Rwanda asylum reforms to become law as House of Lords ends stand-off over Priti Patel's plans
The Bill will allow asylum seekers to be treated differently based on how they entered the UK
Controversial Rwanda asylum and immigration reforms are set to become law after peers halted their stand-off over Priti Patel's plans.
The stalemate over the Nationality and Borders Bill ended after the House of Lords rejected by 212 to 157, majority 55, a last-ditch bid to ensure provisions in the legislation complied with the UK’s international obligations towards refugees.
The House heard cries of “shame” from some peers as the result was read out.
Provisions in the Bill include offshoring asylum, with the Government already having struck a deal with Rwanda, and making it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally.
The Bill will allow asylum seekers to be treated differently based on how they entered the UK.
It has been mauled during its passage through the unelected chamber, but the changes made were repeatedly overturned by the Commons, where the Government has a majority.
This included an unsuccessful bid to enable asylum seekers to work if no decision had been taken on their claim after six months.
Disagreements over the legislation went to the wire, with the Government wanting to prorogue Parliament on Thursday, ending the current parliamentary session.
Liberal Democrat Lord Paddick said he was “appalled and disgusted by it.”
Labour former shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti, who led efforts to ensure the legislation complied with international human rights law, accused the Commons of giving “two fingers” to the Lords.
While backing criticism of the Bill, Labour frontbencher Lord Coaker said: “We have reached the time in the parliamentary process where we think sending it back a fourth time would not be the appropriate way forward.”
He added: “The battle will carry on. The campaign for a proper refugee system will carry on.
“The campaign will take place not only within this Parliament but in the various communities up and down this country as we fight to remain the global champion that we have always been and offer asylum to those people that deserve it and need it.”
Responding, Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said: “We believe that all provisions (in the Bill) reflect a good faith, compatible interpretation of the Refugee Convention.”
She told peers: “I think that it is time to pass this Bill.”
Her call sparked shouts of “No” from a number of peers.
Having cleared the Lords, the legislation now goes for royal assent.