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Backlash: British Minister resigns over controversial Rwanda Immigration Bill in Parliament

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

*British Minister for Immigration Robert Jenrick resigns due to ‘strong disagreements with the direction’ of the United Kingdom Government, after Rwanda warned of abandoning a treaty to accept migrants, if Britain does not respect international law

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Following Rwanda Government’s warning that the East African country would pull out of a new-fangled treaty to accept migrants, if the United Kingdom (UK) does not respect international law, British Minister for Immigration Robert Jenrick has resigned due to “strong disagreements with the direction” of the government’s policy on immigration.

ConsumerConnect learnt the Britain’s ruling Conservative Party was in disarray Wednesday, December 6, 2023, after Jenrick quit over the controversial legislation regarding sending asylum-seekers and migrants from the UK to Rwanda as hardliners turned the screw on British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The bombshell resignation came after Rwanda warned that it would pull out of a treaty to accept migrants, if the UK does not respect international law.

It is recalled that former hardline UK Interior Minister or Home Secretary Suella Braverman had also issued Sunak an ultimatum to get tougher on immigration or face certain wipeout in the next general election, in a torrid day for the British PM.

Emergency legislation designed to ensure Rwanda is considered ‘a safe country’?

Jenrick has resigned after Sunak’s administration published emergency legislation designed to ensure Rwanda is considered ‘a safe country’, but the UK Supreme Court judges November 2023 deemed otherwise, stating that the East African country was not.

Perhaps like Braverman’s recent resignation letter after a cabinet reshuffle, Jenrick also wrote in his resignation letter to PM Rishi Sunak, that the proposed laws were “a triumph of hope over experience”.

The former Immigration Minister stated: “The stakes for the country are too high for us not to pursue the stronger protections required to end the merry-go-round of legal challenges which risk paralysing the scheme and negating its intended deterrent.”

That was seen as a reference to Sunak’s refusal to take Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights, agency report said.

The bill proposes giving UK Ministers powers to disregard sections of the UK Human Rights Act and ECHR when considering deportation cases in Britain.

Braverman, sacked last month after a series of outspoken comments over the raging Israel-Hamas War, had told the British Parliament that the government needed to go further to tackle “mass, uncontrolled, illegal immigration”.

Among her demands was to block “all routes” of legal challenge to deportations to get deportation flights to Rwanda by the time of the poll, which is expected 2024.

At the time, Braverman had become the cheerleader of the vocal Tory right wing, and was thought to be positioning herself as a future leader, if Sunak is forced to quit after the nationwide vote, report said.

The Tories lag well behind the main opposition Labour Party in opinion polls ahead of an election that must be held by January 2025, according to report.

Braverman, a former attorney general, has called for tougher measures before, and criticised the UN convention on refugees and European human rights legislation for blocking the government’s plans.

Her latest comments are red meat to fellow firebrands who see having total control over Britain’s borders as the final piece in the Brexit jigsaw.

“The Conservative party faces electoral oblivion in a matter of months, if it introduces yet another bill destined to fail,” she told MPs.

In Kigali, Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta, who signed a new bilateral treaty on migrants with Braverman’s successor James Cleverly Tuesday this week said any breach of global conventions could see Rwanda withdraw from the deal.

On ‘stop the boats’ of asylum-seekers, migrants

Speaking on the controversial deal with Rwanda, Cleverly asserted “without lawful behaviour by the UK, Rwanda would not be able to continue with the Migration and Economic Development Partnership.”

The Foreign Minister also insisted in Parliament that the UK and Rwanda were “both completely committed” to the partnership on ferrying asylum-seekers and migrants to the East African country.

According to Cleverly, London’s proposed law put “beyond legal doubt the safety of Rwanda.”

UK Government in ‘total chaos’, bereft of ideas, losing sense of direction -Labour’s Home Affairs Spokesperson Cooper

The first batch of deportees were due to be sent to Rwanda June 2022, but were pulled off a flight at the last minute after a judge at the European Court of Human Rights issued an injunction in this regard.

Since then, their cases — and the wider legality of the policy — have been stuck in the courts, hampering Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats” in the UK.

Report indicates that about 30,000 irregular migrants have crossed the Channel from northern France in rudimentary vessels this year.

Meanwhile, in her remarks on the controversial legislation, Labour’s Home Affairs Spokesperson Yvette Cooper said the UK Government was in “total chaos”.

Cooper told the UK Parliament: “This are the desperate dying days of a party ripping itself apart, clearly totally out of ideas, lost any sense of leadership or direction.”

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