UK lawmakers vote in favor of controversial bill to send asylum seekers to Rwanda

Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill backed by vote of 320-276

Burak Bir  | 18.01.2024 - Update : 18.01.2024
UK lawmakers vote in favor of controversial bill to send asylum seekers to Rwanda


A majority of British lawmakers voted Wednesday to back a controversial bill that would allow the government to send asylum seekers to Rwanda. 

Despite some threats from "Conservative rebels" to bring the bill down, it passed the third reading in the House of Commons.

The "Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill," the flagship asylum policy of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, was backed by a vote of 320-276.

The bill, which was submitted to parliament last month, aims to address the concerns of the UK Supreme Court, which ruled that the government's original plan to send asylum seekers to the East African country was unlawful.

The bill compels judges to regard Rwanda as a safe country and gives ministers the power to disregard parts of the Human Rights Act.

Sunak's bill had also drawn criticism from inside his party, but the majority of "rebels" decided to back it ahead of the vote. Reportedly, only 11 Conservative lawmakers voted against it.

On Tuesday, two deputy Conservative party chairmen, Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith, resigned in rebellion over the bill.

The bill needs to be passed by the both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and then will become law once it has been given royal assent.

The Rwanda plan had been one of the most controversial planks of the government's migration policy as it sparked international criticism and mass protests across the UK.

Tackling small boat crossings by irregular migrants across the English Channel is among five priorities of the government, as more than 45,000 migrants arrived in the UK that way last year.

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