Lords divided on Illegal Migration Bill

The bill was met with criticism from Conservative peers during its second reading in the House of Lords this month.
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The Illegal Migration Bill had its second reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday 10 May.

It did not receive the support from Conservative peers that the government might have hoped for.

Many Conservative peers spoke of their concerns about the bill.

Figures such as Baroness Sugg and Lord Kirkhope of Harrogate said they were uncomfortable with the bill breaching international law.

Lord Kirkhope said: “they are using extreme rhetoric and, in implementing their Rwandan scheme, flagrantly ignoring laws – not only the 1951 refugee convention but other international agreements and, of course, the European Convention on Human Rights”.

Lord Garnier also said that he believed the bill to be unworkable, and that it would not achieve its aims.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth said that the bill “does not deal with the asylum backlog, nor does it do anything to bring to book traffickers… I question whether this legislation will have the deterrent effect that is argued for”.

Labour and Liberal Democrat peers were united in their opposition to the bill, with several Liberal Democrat peers going as far as to vote for a fatal amendment put forward by one of their own, Lord Paddick.

Labour abstained from this vote. It fell at 76 votes to 179, owing to Conservative peers voting it down.

The bill will begin committee stage on 24 May.

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