Ministers warn peers not to defy ‘the will of the British people’ as Archbishop of Canterbury is set to join criticism of Channel migrants crackdown in House of Lords debate TODAY
- Bill seeks to detain and remove people who arrive to the UK in small boats
Ministers have warned peers not to defy ‘the will of the British people’ as the House of Lords gears up to battle the government’s Channel migrant crackdown.
The Illegal Migration Bill is set to be debated in the Upper House for the first time today, with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby among those set to speak against it.
But Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Justice Secretary Alex Chalk have fired a warning shot, telling the unelected chamber that the public wants the issue addressed. Rishi Sunak has made ‘stopping the boats’ one of his five key pledges ahead of the general election – with many Tories viewing success as their only hope of staying in power.
Writing jointly for Times Red Box, the Cabinet minister said: ‘We urge the House of Lords to look at the Illegal Migration Bill carefully, remember it is designed to meet the will of the British people in a humane and fair way, and back the Bill.’
The legislation is aimed at ensuring people who arrive in the UK illegally would be detained and promptly removed, either to their home country or a third country such as Rwanda.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (pictured on Saturday) is set to condemn the Government’s Illegal Migration Bill that aims to crackdown of asylum seekers who arrive in the UK in small boats, according to reports
In a rare intervention, Justin Welby is set to argue against the flagship legislation as it faces its first test in the upper chamber. The bill is aimed at ensuring people who arrive in the UK in small boats would be detained and promptly removed, either to their home country or a third country such as Rwanda. Migrants are pictured arriving in small boats last month
The illegal migration clampdown has been prompted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to ‘stop the boats’ bringing migrants across the English Channel. Mr Sunak is pictured inside 10 Downing Street earlier this month
Mr Welby is among 90 speakers listed for the debate from 11am, and is expected to deliver another rebuke over the Government’s treatment of migrants and asylum seekers.
Liberal Democrat Lord Paddick, a former senior police officer, has proposed a so-called fatal motion to the proposed legislation, aimed at stopping it in its tracks at its first Lords hurdle.
His amendment argues the draft legislation would see Britain fail to meet its international law commitments, allow ministers to ignore the directions of judges and undermine ‘the UK’s tradition of providing sanctuary to refugees’, while failing to tackle the backlog of asylum cases or people smuggling gangs.
However, the blocking bid is doomed to fail without the backing of the main opposition.
A Labour source said: ‘We’re not supporting the motion. If successful, which they never are, the Government could just Parliament Act the Bill in the next King’s Speech and peers would lose the opportunity to make any amendments.
‘It is therefore an irresponsible way to deal with legislation that has already gone through the the elected House.’
The two Green Party peers will be among those supporting the fatal motion, with Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb saying: ‘This Bill is illegal because it breaks international law and should be opposed for that reason alone. It is also immoral and plain nasty.
‘It effectively makes all asylum seekers criminals unless they are from a few select countries where the UK has approved pathways and safe routes for immigration such as Hong Kong.’
Lady Jones added: ‘It is hugely disappointing that Labour are failing to oppose this legislation outright, but unsurprising given their recent track record of caving in on Voter ID and the Public Order Bill. If we are to save our democracy, we need an opposition that is up to the job.’
It comes as more than 6,000 migrants have been detected crossing the channel so far in 2023
The Bill includes provisions that would limit the ability of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to prevent the deportation of asylum seekers.
The clampdown has been prompted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to ‘stop the boats’ bringing migrants across the English Channel.
It comes as more than 6,000 migrants have been detected crossing the channel so far in 2023.
At least 260 migrants arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel last weekend while the rest of the country celebrated the Coronation of King Charles III, according to official figures.
On Saturday and Sunday the Home Office recorded 269 migrant arrivals into the UK.
The latest arrivals were seen on Monday morning after being rescued by a Border Force vessel following a small boat incident in the Channel.
The group of adults and small children, all thought to be migrants, were seen wearing life jackets and disembarking Dover earlier today.
On Saturday and Sunday the Home Office recorded 269 migrant arrivals into the UK. Pictured are a group of people thought to be migrants in Dover on Monday morning
A group of people thought to be migrants are pictured after being rescued by a Border Force vessel following a small boat incident in the Channel
Government figures reveal that a total of 6,549 asylum seekers have crossed the Channel in 156 boats to date in 2023. In the eight days of May alone, there have already been 603 migrants arriving in the UK.
To cope with the numbers, the Government plans to use disused military camps and a barge as accommodation centres. But critics argue the flagship immigration reforms break international law and threaten modern slavery protections.
The Archbishop, in a speech to the Lords last year, warned against ‘harmful rhetoric’ that treats those arriving in the UK as ‘invaders’.
He has previously called for a better system based on ‘compassion, justice and co-operation across frontiers’.
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