The UK government has voted yes on the Rwanda Safety Act in a majority 313-269, ensuring Rishi Sunak was not the first Prime Minister to lose a Second Reading since 1986.
The Act, which was introduced on 7 December overrules the November decision of the UK Supreme Court that Rwanda is an unsafe to deport illegal immigrants. On 5 December, the governments of United Kingdom and Rwanda agreed to the deportation of illegal immigrants from the UK to the African country, which left parliament needing to agree.
Rishi Sunak spent 12 December meeting and lobbying with various factions of the Conservative Party who objected to the bill. The New Conservatives, the European Research Group and even members of his own cabinet needed designated meetings to guarantee their support for the upcoming bill.
The day has been full of political speculation, with the BBC keeping a live update of events. These included smoked salmon for the breakfast meeting and Kier Starmer’s adamance that through the “screaming and shouting”, bill will pass.
After a day of intense debates, Labour resolved to kill the bill because it “threatens the UK’s compliance with international law” and “will not work to tackle people smuggling gangs, end small boat crossings.”
Sunak has since come out and spoken on his success, “the British people should decide who gets to come to this country – not criminal gangs or foreign courts. That’s what this bill delivers.” His success was better than expected as thirty eight MP’s did not vote, but none opposed the bill.
After its passage through the second reading and first vote, the Rwanda Safety Act will be subject to committee interrogation, a third reading and second vote in the coming weeks.
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