Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Home Office
Tuesday 20th December 2022

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Watch Debate Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Viscount Younger of Leckie Portrait Viscount Younger of Leckie (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord but I do not believe that he was here at the beginning of the Statement.

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Portrait Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (GP)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

My Lords, I apologise that I am not able to let the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, in; it is not in my power.

As both the Front-Bench questioners mentioned, despite the fact that the Statement makes no reference to it, the judges found that the cases of the individuals affected on the Rwanda flight were handled so chaotically and inappropriately by the Home Office that they should never have been on that flight in the first place. This is interesting when you note the rather slighting way in which the action of the European Court of Human Rights is referred to in this Statement, given that it was absolutely crucial for the rights of those individuals, as acknowledged by our court. None the less, those cases were clearly rushed.

The Prime Minister’s Statement this week on so-called illegal immigration—it should be stated clearly in your Lordships’ House that no person is illegal and every person is entitled to flee and seek refuge in cases where they need asylum—spoke of handling cases in days or weeks rather than months or years. How will the Government fairly, legally and justly handle cases, given what happened in the rushed circumstances of this case?

Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

If I may, I will turn first to the point made by the noble Baroness in respect of the Rule 39 indication made by the Strasbourg court in one of the cases of those to be removed on the initial Rwanda flight. I point out to the noble Baroness that, domestically, the Divisional Court and the Court of Appeal refused to grant an interim injunction, and the President of the Supreme Court in the United Kingdom refused permission to appeal against that decision. As was revealed during yesterday’s debate in the other place, it seems that the Russian judge granted the Rule 39 indication without hearing submissions from the UK Government and without providing any formal avenue to appeal against that decision. I do not accept that there was any automaticity about the interim relief afforded by the Strasbourg court.

I turn to the judgments on the eight specific written decisions. As I have already noted, the department has accepted the criticisms of the court, revoked those decisions and will redetermine them. It has revised and improved the decision-making process to ensure that the errors highlighted by the court will not be repeated.

--- Later in debate ---
Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am afraid that I cannot answer the noble Lord’s question because the litigation is ongoing. One of the issues that will be canvassed on 16 January is costs. I assure my noble friend that we will be seeking costs against those parties who have lost in respect of their challenges to the Government.

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Portrait Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle (GP)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

My Lords, the Minister has referred a number of times to stopping people coming across the channel in small boats. If the Government are successful in that, what assessment have they made of other routes that people would be likely to attempt and how much more dangerous they are likely to be?

Lord Murray of Blidworth Portrait Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Obviously, the Home Office is alive to all the possible opportunities. The noble Baroness will not be surprised if I do not outline them at the Dispatch Box. Clearly, careful consideration of any displacement activity is undertaken, and steps are being taken to address any other possible vulnerabilities.