Illegal Migration Act: Northern Ireland Debate

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Illegal Migration Act: Northern Ireland

Joanna Cherry Excerpts
Tuesday 14th May 2024

(2 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Tom Pursglove Portrait Tom Pursglove
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My hon. Friend always speaks with authority when it comes to these issues, and he has extensive experience, having been a Minister in the Home Office. I can absolutely say that we will continue to apply migration policy on a UK-wide basis; the UK border will remain that. He is right to highlight the Nationality and Borders Act, and he should be proud of the efforts that he took forward in Government to help deliver it. Labour Members consistently opposed it. In answer to his question about where Labour would send people, which I know he asked a few weeks ago, we are still none the wiser. The truth is that the basis upon which we are able to advance the policy at this stage is the Nationality and Borders Act. He can be confident in that basis. We are getting on and delivering on it.

Joanna Cherry Portrait Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) (SNP)
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Of course, this judgment has UK-wide relevance because of the declarations of incompatibility under the Human Rights Act. In our reports on the Illegal Migration Act and the Rwanda policy, the Joint Committee on Human Rights has repeatedly warned that many aspects of the Government’s asylum policy breach the Human Rights Act. That was not just our view, but the weight of the expert evidence that we heard; in fact, those with legal expertise who disagreed with our findings were decidedly thin on the ground. This judgment vindicates our position that on a number of fronts, the Government’s asylum policy breaches the Human Rights Act, particularly as regards the duty to remove. As such, will the Minister confirm that the Government will respect the rule of law and not take any steps to deport anyone under the Rwanda scheme until the relevant avenues of appeal in this case are exhausted and it is clarified that such removals would be lawful?

Tom Pursglove Portrait Tom Pursglove
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I know that the hon. and learned Lady is vehemently opposed to the Government’s position on tackling illegal migration. I believe that the Minister for Countering Illegal Migration, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Mid Dorset and North Poole (Michael Tomlinson), will be in front of her Committee tomorrow, and I have no doubt that she will want to ask those questions of him. To go back to the thrust of her question, though, the basis upon which we are facilitating relocations to Rwanda at this stage is that of the Nationality and Borders Act, which is not relevant to the Illegal Migration Act judgment that we are dealing with today.