Home Business News MPs must have the ‘full power of the Parliament to ignore Strasbourg’s injunctions’ over Rwanda flights

MPs must have the ‘full power of the Parliament to ignore Strasbourg’s injunctions’ over Rwanda flights

12th Dec 23 3:57 pm

The former Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick has said the Rwanda Bill might not empower Ministers to ignore the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg to stop the flights, he then accused the government of “sophistry.”

Jenrick told MPs in the House of Commons on Tuesday that they must have the “full power of the Parliament” to ignore Strasbourg’s injunctions to send the asylum seekers packing to Rwanda, but he suggested that the current government’s plan will not deliver this.

Accusing the government of “sophistry” suggests that he believes that part of the Rwanda Bill which relates to ignoring ECHR injunctions is deceptive.

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The ECHR in 2022 granted an injunction via Rule 39 that grounded the flights which stopped asylum seekers being sent to Rwanda, at the time the government said that they will be “on the next flight,” to date nothing has happened, except £240 million given to Kigali.

On Sunday Jenrick told the BBC he will not vote for Sunak’s Rwanda Bill, however he did say that it could still be remedied.

Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, Jenrick said that it is “not a bad Bill,” but warned the public will judge the Conservative’s performance over a single question, “will it work.”

He said, “It is inevitable… in light of the Supreme Court’s judgment, that the Strasbourg Court will impose further Rule 39 interim measures.

“We have to stop that; it is a matter of sovereignty for our country that ministers acting on the instructions of Parliament do not allow those flights to be delayed.

“The provision in the Bill is sophistry. It is the express policy of the Government that Rule 39 injunctions are binding and to ignore them would be a breach of international law.

“So, we are being asked to vote for a provision which it would be illegal to use.”

He said he does not want to see MPs “to be in that position.” Jenrick then added, “We as a House are giving them a hard deal.

“We are doing them a disservice if we allow the Bill to continue in that way. They must have the full power of Parliament to ignore those Rule 39 injunctions and to get those flights in the air.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly told the Commons earlier on Tuesday, “Where the European Court of Human Rights indicates an interim measure relating to the intended removal of someone to Rwanda under, or purportedly under, a provision of the Immigration Act, a Minister of the Crown – not a court, or a tribunal – a Minister of the Crown alone will decide whether the UK will comply with that interim measure.”

The  Conservative former justice secretary Sir Robert Buckland warned the Rwanda Bill could rock the balance between Parliament and the courts could be tested to “breaking point.”

Sir Robert said, “Is there not a danger that, in pursuing quite stringent measures in this Bill, we are really testing the principle of comity to breaking point?

“This Parliament is sovereign, but we also have the independence of the courts and the rule of law to bear in mind, and restraint on both sides by the judiciary and by this place is essential if we are to maintain the balance of our constitution.”

Cleverly told Sir Robert, “I want to give him complete reassurance that we have looked very carefully at the balance that he speaks about.

“We absolutely respect the importance of that.

“We genuinely believe this does get the balance right, although, because of the growing nature of this extreme and perverse trade in human misery, we have to take firm action.

“We are therefore acting in a way that maintains that balance, but it is novel. He says it is contentious, it is true, but we are doing it because we have to break this business model.”

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