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Tory Peer Says Government Behaving Like 'Despots' Over Rwanda Bill

Home secretary James Cleverly and Rwandan minister of foreign affairs Vincent Biruta shake hands at bilateral meeting after they signed a new treaty in Kigali, Rwanda in December.
Home secretary James Cleverly and Rwandan minister of foreign affairs Vincent Biruta shake hands at bilateral meeting after they signed a new treaty in Kigali, Rwanda in December.

Home secretary James Cleverly and Rwandan minister of foreign affairs Vincent Biruta shake hands at bilateral meeting after they signed a new treaty in Kigali, Rwanda in December.

A Tory peer has accused the government of acting like “despots” over its Rwanda deportation policy.

As the controversial Safety of Rwanda Bill makes its way through parliament, both Tory and Labour members of the House of Lords lined up to warn of its dangers on Monday night.

Conservative grandee Lord Tugendhat, whose nephew is security minister Tom Tugendhat, took exception to attempts to overturn a Supreme Court ruling blocking the government from deporting asylum seekers to the east African country.

The peer claimed the bill could have an impact on the UK’s perception as a “marvellous place to do business because of our great respect for the rule of law”.

“I have been a member of parliament for a very long time on and off, and I have been a member of the Conservative party for some 66 years when I counted it up, and I do have to say that I find it quite extraordinary that the party of Margaret Thatcher should be introducing a bill of this kind,” Lord Tugendhat said.

He added: “What we are being asked to do really represents the sort of behaviour that the world associates with despots and autocracies, not with an established democracy, not with the mother of parliaments. It is a bill we should not even be asked to confront, let alone pass.”

The legislation is designed to overcome legal challenges to past attempts to send people to the east African country

It is central to the prime minister’s hopes of convincing voters he can “stop the boats” crossing the English channel.

The government hopes once the bill passes flights will be able to take off by the spring.

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