Amendment 19

Part of Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill - Committee (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 14 February 2024.

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Photo of Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Green 2:30, 14 February 2024

My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the expert contribution of the noble Lord, Lord McDonald. I offer Green support for all the amendments in this group. I particularly highlight and commend the noble Baroness, Lady Lister, and her allies for highlighting something that is crucial, but I feel that has been covered powerfully, so I will simply address most of the other amendments in this group.

It is worth stressing that the amendments would remove the legal fiction that Rwanda must be treated conclusively as safe by the courts and other decision-makers. They would allow the consideration of evidence. I am speaking in the midst of many eminent lawyers, so I will focus on the politics of this. We live in a world in which we are often told we are living with post-truth politics. At the weekend, I was in the constituency of Kingswood knocking on doors. I met some people there who were living in a post-truth environment—people who had disappeared down some very dark conspiracy rabbit holes. When you are knocking on doors, of course it is impossible to attempt to extract people from those rabbit holes in the couple of minutes you have, but it is truly terrifying—I have to say that most of them will be voting for the Reform party on Thursday, which is something the Government should have great concern about for all kinds of reasons.

Post-truth politics is one thing, but what we confront with the Rwanda Bill is post-truth law. The noble Lord, Lord Clarke, said—I wrote down his words—that he was

“completely flabbergasted by the constitutional implications”.

What are the constitutional implications of post-truth law? Nothing is weighed on the reality of the world.

I want to pick up the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Deben, about the duties of this House. Surely it is the duty of this House to ensure that we have truth- based law.