Back on the 4th of April one of the members of the House of Lords raised a question on the potential for Rwanda to be used by the Government. The debate can be seen here. The issue arose during the heading of “Motion C1 (as an amendment to Motion C) – Nationality and Borders Bill”. The person who raised the question about Rwanda was Lord Dubs who is also known as Alf Dubs and is a Labour member of the House of Lords. He asked this question as part of his longer comment.
My Lords, it is a privilege to follow the right reverend Prelate. I have one question about offshore processing. Can she comment on the suggestion that the country designated for offshore processing is Rwanda? The Minister looks surprised; I wonder if she would care to comment on whether that is under discussion.
The Minister who was involved in this debate is Baroness Williams of Trafford or Susan Williams whose image appears here. The reverend Prelate that Alf Dubs mentioned is the Bishop of Durham who is Paul Butler and his speech included this section:
The Home Secretary is committed to the option of transferring asylum seekers offshore and at this time she has the support of the majority of her party. She should therefore be confident that an additional check and degree of transparency will not obstruct that policy but reassure her party and the public that offshore processing and detention of asylum seekers is the best approach. The noble Lord, Lord Kirkhope, and I are grateful to the Minister for the conversations and contact we have had regarding this over the past few days. We remain willing to engage in further dialogue to help Her Majesty’s Government reach a positive conclusion to our proposals. I hope that the Minister may still change her mind. I have one other question: will the Minister confirm that discussions are already at an advanced stage with at least one nation?
So here is the comment provided by the Minister who amongst her other comments stated:
On the question the right reverend Prelate asked me about what advanced discussions are taking place and the point that the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, asked about Rwanda, all I can say at this point is that the Government are talking to a range of partners. I am sure that Parliament will be fully informed when any of those discussions are concluded.
Sadly her confidence that Parliament would be fully informed was failed as the announcement took place on Thursday 14th April, 10 days later. Parliament was closed on that day and indeed the House of Commons had been closed since 31st March and is not due to be open till Tuesday, the 19th April. However Priti Patel and Boris Johnson decided that they would reject the call by their colleague, Susan Williams. Even more disturbing when Priti Patel posted her claim on twitter on Thursday the 14th of April with the following comment, Susan Williams retweeted it which was a clear endorsement of the lie that Priti Patel made following Susan Williams statement 10 days earlier. Here is the text from Priti Patel:
Our new partnership with Rwanda shows we can no longer accept the status quo. People are dying and the global migration crisis requires us to find new ways to work in partnership. It will deal a major blow to the evil people smugglers. This is what it means – she then published a video which can be found here