Tag Archives: Rwanda

Rishi Sunak is reported to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog over £1,000 Rwanda bet

Rishi Sunak: he has bet £1,000 that he will be sending refugees to Rwanda before the general election. But has he broken the rules?

Rishi Sunak may have to answer to the independent adviser on ministers’ interests and the Cabinet Secretary after other MPs claimed a bet he made over his government’s Rwanda deportation policy broke the Ministerial Code.

Here’s what he did – and whether it was a breach of the Code or not, This Writer feels sure we can all agree with Sangita Myska’s comment on it:

The Scottish National Party reported Sunak for the Code breach:

The comment from Kirsty Blackman states: “Placing a bet on the lives of vulnerable refugees fleeing war and persecution is grotesque, callous and downright cruel – and shows just how out of touch Westminster is with the values of people in Scotland.

“It’s particularly shameful that Rishi Sunak, one of the richest men in the UK, thinks it’s appropriate to accept a £1,000 wager – and will remind ordinary working families that near billionaire Sunak doesn’t have a clue what life is like for the rest of us in a cost of living crisis.

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“It also appears to be a clear breach of the Ministerial Code and the high standards that people should expect of those in public life – not least the most powerful person in Westminster.

“For Scotland, it shows Westminster has sunk to a new low and we would be better off escaping broken Brexit Britain and determining our own asylum policy with independence.”

Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael raised a point of order in the House of Commons, but failed to note that the bet was for the money to go to a refugee charity of Sunak’s choice:

The Deputy Speaker, Roger Gale, responded: “I am not a betting man myself, but I suspect that if every Member of Parliament who placed a bet on anything was required to enter it in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, the book might be rather full. The right hon. Gentleman will understand that that was a nice try, but not a matter for the Chair.”

Others have passed their own comments, including MPs like Zarah Sultana…

Journalists…

Celebrities…

And others:

This Writer simply wonders whether the complaint will be taken seriously.


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Why would the UK give asylum to refugees from Rwanda if that country is safe?

Rishi Sunak – stop the boats: is he trying to trick us, claiming it is safe to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda while GRANTING asylum to people from that country who are endangered by the regime there?

The Tory government’s argument that Rwanda is a safe country to which the UK can send “illegal” migrants has been called into question after it was revealed that the Home Office gave asylum in this country to refugees from there.

While Rishi Sunak and a succession of Home Secretaries have been arguing in court and Parliament that Rwanda is a safe place to send asylum-seekers, they were also giving four Rwandans refugee status in the UK.

The in-private finding that their fears of persecution were “well-founded” undermines public claims that the country is safe; if people indigenous to that country are in danger there, how can foreign nationals be safe?

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The revelation, after an investigation by The Observer and Led By Donkeys, raises fresh questions about UK police ahead of this week’s debate in the House of Lords of the Rwanda Bill that claims Rwanda is “unequivocally” safe.

The investigation has also seen details of a dossier compiled by a western intelligence agency that accused Rwanda of orchestrating a dirty tricks campaign to smear and undermine critics including those based in the UK. It is further claimed that a London PR firm set up social media accounts to target a British author, but the company has denied this.

One of the Rwandans was granted asylum by the Home Office on 12 October, the day after the government concluded a case in the supreme court arguing the country was safe.

The refugee was a supporter of an opposition party led by Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, who is campaigning for justice for colleagues who have been killed or disappeared. The Rwandan also witnessed alleged atrocities committed by president Paul Kagame’s forces in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

He and his wife were granted asylum with the Home Office stating in a letter: “We accept that you have a well-founded fear of persecution and therefore cannot return to your country Rwanda, and we have recognised that you are a refugee under the 1951 Refugee Convention.”

The refugee, who still fears for his safety, said: “Britain should stop pretending this is a safe place. Find some other excuse for sending people to Rwanda but don’t say it’s because the place is ‘safe’, because that’s just insulting to people like me.”

More information is available in the Observer article (link below).

Will it be enough to foil the Tory government’s attempt to say Rwanda is safe? Probably not, due to the huge Tory majority in the House of Commons.

But it may be enough to persuade voters – during an election year – that we have a government that says one thing in public and does another in private. And we don’t want liars and hypocrites like that.

Source: Revealed: UK granted asylum to Rwandan refugees while arguing country was safe | Migration | The Guardian


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Government defeated by Lords on Rwanda treaty

The House of Lords has called for the new UK-Rwanda treaty to be delayed until Kigali improves its asylum procedures:

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The motion is not binding on the government.

But note:

According to the BBC:

Next week peers will begin debating the bill itself, which aims to prevent legal challenges to deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda.

While non-binding, the vote on the treaty gives an indication of the level of opposition Mr Sunak is likely to face when the bill is debated in the Lords.

Rishi Sunak is in trouble here.


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Rwanda Bill passes – but only to keep Sunak in office. It won’t work

Rishi Sunak and his plan to stop the boats: it won’t work, as passed by MPs on January 17, it seems. Why did they back it, then?

Let’s have the BBC report first, before I drop the flipside on you:

Rishi Sunak has succeeded in getting his key Rwanda bill through the House of Commons after a Tory rebellion failed to materialise.

The bill, which aims to stop legal challenges against ministers’ plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, was approved by 320 votes to 276 votes.

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Dozens of Tories thought the bill was flawed and had threatened to rebel but in the end, only 11 voted against it…  including [Robert] Jenrick and former Home Secretary Suella Braverman – voted against it.

Other Tory MPs on the list include Miriam Cates, Sir Simon Clarke, Mark Francois and Danny Kruger.

The bill now goes to the House of Lords where it will face stiff opposition.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who did not vote against the Bill, despite voicing reservations, got himself into hot water when the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire interviewed him about it.

You can bet he’s not alone in having voted for something that he doesn’t think will work, simply to keep the status quo in Parliament.

It seems clear that the Rwanda Bill will not achieve what it set out to do – for the reasons Rees-Mogg described in his interview.

There was, therefore, no reason for him and all those other Tory critics of the Bill to support it.

But they did.

The reason they did must be to support Rishi Sunak and keep this from becoming a ‘no confidence’ vote in his leadership – to cling on to office as a government for just a little bit longer.

That’s not good enough. We need MPs who have the courage of their convictions and will vote down bad legislation as they see it. Clearly the Tories don’t have that at all and there is no reason for anybody to support them any more.


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Tory deputy chairmen resign to support rebel amendments to Rwanda Bill

Lee Anderson with his idol, Boris Johnson: it seems he may now try to remove one of Johnson’s successors as prime minister.

Has Rishi Sunak lost control?

It would seem so, after Tory Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith resigned in order to support rebel amendments to Sunak’s Rwanda Bill.

And Jane Stevenson, a parliamentary private secretary in the Department for Business and Trade, also confirmed she had offered her resignation after voting for the rebel amendments.

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This Site discussed the amendments and the reasons behind them here.

As far as This Writer can tell, the amendments they supported failed.

This suggests to me that they will want to vote the Bill down today (Wednesday, January 17, 2024) – as urged by former Home Secretary Suella Braverman. She, together with Robert Jenrick, who proposed the rebel amendments, has said she is prepared to vote against the bill if it is not improved.

More could join them and it has been reported that only 30 Tories need to join the Opposition for the Bill to be voted down.

If that happens, it could be treated as a ‘no confidence’ vote in Sunak’s leadership.

And that could mean the end of him. What then?


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Nat-C true believer Miriam Cates’s Rwanda comment explains why we won’t vote Tory any more

Miriam Cates: the mouth is flapping but the mind is vacant.

Miriam Cates is a true-blue National Conservative – or Nat-C, for short.

Like most Nat-Cs, she seems to subscribe to the belief that propaganda is always better than fact.

How else are we to explain her words about Rwanda during a Radio 4 interview?

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Challenged on her claim that “Rwanda is a safe country”, she instantly changed her tune to the much lesser claim that “Rwanda is a country that we have a deal with”:

So Rwanda isn’t safe and she admits it. Didn’t she – very recently – vote in support of a Tory Bill that insists Rwanda is safe?

Isn’t that knowingly presenting a falsehood to Parliament?

Oh dear. If this is the quality of a Conservative’s word, then I won’t be supporting her party at the next election. Who would?


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#ToryChaos: Braverman to split Tories with ‘toughen Rwanda Bill’ demand?

Suella Braverman: sniping from the sidelines.

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman could split the Conservative government and trigger a general election with a call to toughen up Rishi Sunak’s Bill to make it possible to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda, it has been claimed.

Braverman wants MPs to support rebel amendments by Robert Jenrick, the former Immigration Minister who resigned over the Bill, aimed at stopping judges on the European Court of Human Rights from frustrating ministers’ implementation of the Rwanda. Braverman’s support may persuade like-minded right-wingers to vote for it.

She put forward her views in an interview on GB News. I haven’t been able to make the clip play but I present it below in the hope that one day it will:

But former Justice Secretary Sir Robert Buckland, from the centrist One Nation group of MPs, has backed three amendments which would tone down some parts of the bill by deleting clauses declaring Rwanda “a safe country”, disapplying the Human Rights Act, and forcing courts to disregard interim rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

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The opposing amendments may split the Tory vote in Parliament, which is being touted as a vote of confidence in Rishi Sunak as prime minister. This suggests that, if the Bill falls, he could be ousted and a general election called. But that seems only a remote possibility, as HuffPost political editor Kevin Schofield explained – also on GB News:

This Writer has already bought popcorn – for a completely separate issue that could also sink the Tories (decide for yourself which one) – so I’m ready to be entertained by whatever happens. You have to get your fun where you can in the Tory Britain of 2024.


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Rishi Sunak wins Rwanda vote despite threat of Tory rebellions – but who cares?

Rishi Sunak and his priorities: he appears to be apologising for getting them all wrong; if only that were true!

Rishi Sunak has won a Commons vote on his controversial policy to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda – but the crucial element to notice is not the way he’s crowing about it; instead it is the response of others.

Here’s an example. Note that it doesn’t help Sunak’s cause that he lies about what his Rwanda Bill is supposed to do:

Here’s a fairly accurate summary of what actually happened:

And here’s one with a little more depth, courtesy of the ever-reliable Peter Stefanovic:

Would you like to know what happened in the debate?

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Let’s start with this:

Here’s what I suspect was the more prevalent Tory behaviour – apparent racism from one Nick Fletcher, representing the Don Valley:

According to this drone, failures in local council services and the NHS are entirely due to illegal immigration. In fact, services are falling apart because his party has withdrawn funding. This is scapegoating of the meanest kind.

In contrast, Labour’s Bell Ribeiro-Addy provided an excellent analysis – only to have it undermined by objections to a single word that some honourable members found distasteful:

The entire Bill is distasteful but they objected to that one word in a dissenting speech. If you are in the UK, it tells you everything you need to know about your government.

Of course the Bill still has a way to go yet, before it becomes law. The House of Lords will not debate it until the New Year – and some are salivating in anticipation:

Finally, the commentariat are having a field day:

This Writer’s opinion is that, once passed, this law will become a millstone around Rishi Sunak’s neck. Even if he succeeds in sending people to Rwanda, they won’t be enough to placate the racist anti-immigration crowd in his own party, and it won’t deter more people from crossing the Channel.

It will simply show that he was lying about the influence of foreign courts on what’s happening in the UK.

He would, indeed, be better-off calling a general election and putting himself out of our misery.


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Asylum-seeker commits suicide on Bibby Stockholm as Parliament talks about Rwanda

The barge: Bibby Stockholm has been modified to take nearly twice as many asylum-seekers as it would have accommodated when it was a prison, creating serious humanitarian concerns – and now somebody has died there.

An asylum-seeker who had been sent to the converted prison ship Bibby Stockholm by the Tory government has committed suicide there (it is understood), while the UK’s Parliament debated plans to deport people like him to Rwanda.

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Conditions on the barge have been a matter of hot dispute since the Tories hired it – especially as the Home Office has refused to allow MPs from other parties to visit it and find out what it’s like for themselves:

To the Tories, it seems, the issue of asylum-seekers is one of logistics. They are cargo, not kinfolk, and as such may be handled in any way the lords and masters of the UK deem fit. The most common way seems to be to stoke hatred in order to provide a common enemy for the UK’s voters – one who isn’t a Tory, that is.

Some of us disagree with this policy:

Meanwhile, it seems the Rwanda deportation scheme is becoming ever-more-expensive, despite nobody having been moved anywhere (apart from Tory Home Secretaries):

And the cost of Bibby Stockholm itself is much greater:

It seems that, now, we must also count the cost in human lives.


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Don’t be fooled: Tory government ISN’T imploding over Rwanda deportation policy

His answer to everything: Rishi Sunak is trying to distract us from the real problems facing the UK – by pointing us at an invented bogeyman: migrants whose Channel crossings are only illegal because his government criminalised them.

It was a nice piece of political theatre. But what actually happened over the Tory government’s controversial Rwanda policy?

Well, we could start with this:

It seems to This Writer that Rishi Sunak got everything he wanted: his Rwanda deal is back on, sure – but more importantly for the Tories, they have used it as a smokescreen under which they have destroyed human rights in the UK.

Oh, you missed that?

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The European Court of Human Rights is being denied jurisdiction here. So, if you are in the UK, your human rights aren’t protected any more. Oh, you thought it just applied to asylum-seekers?

The UK no longer complies with United Nations treaties on refugees.

The Human Rights Act and the Modern Slavery Act have been bypassed. If you are in the UK, that will have an effect on you if the Tories – or any other UK government decide they want it to.

Government ministers will get to decide what happens to people coming to the UK – and, if you are in the UK, whether those decisions will be applied to you as well. You will have no recourse to the courts for a legal judgement.

This is because the changes have been made to UK law – and UK law applies to all UK residents (apart from members of the government and the super-rich who can bypass it, obviously).

In fairness, the changes to the law haven’t happened yet – but they will. Here’s a reason:

I dont agree with Baron Sikka that the Tories are trying to find a platform on which they can win a general election and save their careers (that’s what he means by “save their skins”). They’ll rubber-stamp these erosions of your rights because they want to.

Still, some have optimistically speculated on what might happen if opportunistic Tory MPs break ranks and rebel. We’ll discuss some of the events mentioned here, further down the article:

Some have taken a more pragmatic view, accepting that the changes will happen and what they mean:

That is fascism: powerful nationalism, disdain for human rights, identification of “enemies” as a unifying cause, obsession with national security.

If you don’t recognise those words, I’ve just quoted four of the 14 generally-accepted “warning signs of fascism”.

Rishi Sunak announced this descent into fascism in a press conference at 11am yesterday (December 7). The press asked whether the vote on it would be treated as a confidence issue, and he made it clear that it would not:

So there it is.

Is he really relying on Labour to support him? No. Don’t be fooled. He expects his Parliamentary party to support him; the words about Labour were simply to undermine Keir Starmer’s electoral position – make him look weak on immigration. And, of course, these words are meant to make Sunak’s position seem acceptable.

Consider the words of Mhairi Black, in the video clip below:

“[Fascism] arrives under the guise of respectability and pride, that will then be refused to anyone that is deemed different. It arrives through the ‘othering’ of people – the normalisation of human cruelty… The warning signs are there for everyone to see – whether they admit it or not.”

Here’s the economist Richard Murphy:

If you don’t share his view, consider yourself to have joined the ranks of the fascists.

How did we get here? Well, the most recent events were probably kicked off by Keir Starmer, when he put his own boot into the Rwanda deportation policy at Prime Minister’s Questions:

We were reminded that only 100 people can possibly be sent to Rwanda, and that the deal is reciprocal, meaning Rwandan people will be sent to the UK. That means it will not make any difference to inward migration into this country.

The scheme’s cost was mentioned by Starmer but Sunak coasted over it. In fact it is now at least £240 million, as the government has provided an extra £100 million very recently. If we send anybody there, in the end, we have to pay for their accommodation and upkeep for five years.

Meanwhile, the Tories have lost 17,000 asylum seekers. These people have just disappeared.

Late in the afternoon, this landed on ‘X’:

“We said we would do what was needed to stop the boats.” This wasn’t it. This Writer has heard nothing from the Tories to show that they have actually taken any steps to ensure that Rwanda is safe for asylum-seekers, as the Supreme Court’s judgement implied that it should.

My impression is that this Bill will be nothing more than a declaration that the government says Rwanda is safe. That is no way to reassure anybody.

In any case, it won’t “stop the boats”. That part of the problem is being handled via international agreements to target the “criminal gangs” and reduce the number of people leaving their countries of origin in the first place – as This Site has always claimed was necessary.

That didn’t stop James Cleverly, the new Home Secretary, from spouting that tired old line – and getting hammered by people who see this vote-grubbing publicity stunt for what it is (an attempt to win votes from racists after a campaign to convince them that Johnny Foreigner is secretly invading):

Then Rwanda threw a fly in the ointment: its government issued a statement saying it could not support the deal if it does not adhere to international law.

Clearly, Minister Biruta, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, had read the new Bill and spotted the parts that depart from international law.

Two hours later, Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick resigned, saying the new Bill did not go far enough for him:

These events fuelled debate on the subject, which continued overnight:

Suella Braverman, the former Home Secretary, also stuck her oar in – but was dismissed by the BBC’s Nick Robinson who, on the Today programme, said her attitude was that it was “all about her”. Still, her intervention may be divisive within the Conservative Party.

Then Sunak held his press conference. Here’s an analysis of it:

Again, speculation came back to whether this is a vote of confidence.

And again, we come back to the fact that every Tory MP knows their career is at stake. Their government is failing in the opinion polls and they may lose their seats at the next general election.

So it is in their best interests to put that election off as long as possible, in the hope that their party’s fortunes will improve.

Also, it should not be considered a secondary issue that the destruction of human rights represented by the Rwanda legislation is something many Tory MPs have desired for a long time.

Wait, watch and learn: the Tories are rushing their Rwanda legislation through Parliament so it won’t be long before we find out whether I’m right.


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