February 26, 2024


Robert Jenrick resigns as immigration minister

Rajeev Syal

Rajeev Syal

The immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, has quit, just hours after the prime minister tabled a bill to save the Rwanda deportation policy.

He stood down after the legislation did not allow ministers to override international laws which have stopped the government from sending asylum seekers to central Africa.

Jenrick’s resignation will be seen as a move to position himself as the head of a growing rightwing rebellion aimed at ensuring that the UK can act unilaterally and send flights to Kigali.

Key events

The provision of individual appeals is not related to the safety of Rwanda, the home secretary said.

James Cleverly’s comments were in response to a question from Conservative former minister Dr Caroline Johnson, who said: “There is a provision as he said for individual claims, can he tell what circumstances such an individual could expect to be successful? And how long that and the appeals process will be expected to take?”

Cleverly said: “The provision of individual claims is not to do with the safety of Rwanda, that’s an important distinction that needs to be made.

“Of course there does need to be provisions for appeals, that’s a normal part of any judicial or legal process.”

Home secretary confirms Robert Jenrick’s resignation as immigration minister

Cleverly has now confirmed that Robert Jenrick has resigned as immigration minister.

“That has been confirmed,” Cleverly said after repeated questioning.

Robert Jenrick resigns as immigration minister

Rajeev Syal

Rajeev Syal

The immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, has quit, just hours after the prime minister tabled a bill to save the Rwanda deportation policy.

He stood down after the legislation did not allow ministers to override international laws which have stopped the government from sending asylum seekers to central Africa.

Jenrick’s resignation will be seen as a move to position himself as the head of a growing rightwing rebellion aimed at ensuring that the UK can act unilaterally and send flights to Kigali.

James Cleverly will be judged for “decades” on the impact of the Government’s new Rwanda treaty and emergency bill, a senior Conservative backbencher has claimed.

Tory former minister Sir John Hayes, a close ally of ex-home secretary Suella Braverman, told the Commons: “The new Home Secretary will of course be aware and welcome the fact that he will be… judged by the effectiveness of this legislation for weeks and months and years, perhaps decades even.

“So will he confirm that the provisions in this Bill are sufficient to resist individual challenges from those who might be sent to Rwanda, and the interest groups and the dodgy lawyers who support them? And in particular would he speak specifically about the disapplication of Rule 39?”

Rule 39 orders from European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg have been used to suspend attempts to deport migrants in the past.

Cleverly replied: “The right is for ministers to decide on our response to a Rule 39 application, that is in the Bill. He is right that this sets important precedents.

The European court of human rights would benefit from “evolution” and “updating”, Cleverly told the Commons.

The Conservative former home secretary Priti Patel asked for details of any assessments made “as to whether the disapplication of the Human Rights Act and other laws are robust and will stand up to the legal challenges and ensure ultimately the delivery and the implementation of this policy”.

Cleverly said: “The UK takes its international obligations incredibly seriously. The Human Rights Act is in part being disapplied through this legislation”

He said the UK was one of the founding members of the European court of human rights, adding: “We regard it as an important institution, but like many postwar institutions it would benefit from evolution, it would benefit from updating.”

The home secretary added: “We have a robust legal system, we have a robust parliamentary system here in the UK. We should have some more self-confidence in those systems and use our experience to help capacity-building in partner countries like Rwanda.”

Robert Jenrick ‘has resigned’ as immigration minister

The Home Office minister Laura Farris has said that Robert Jenrick has resigned as immigration minister.

She told LBC: “I understand that he has.”

Asked why, she said: “I don’t know, in all honesty. I just came from the chamber and found out after I connected to your show.”

The Lib Dems’ Christine Jardine says the policy is “immoral”, “inexpensive” and “unworkable”.

From Sky News’ Sam Coates.

Friends of Robert Jenrick say he’s quitting – no official confirmation yet but sounds like it’s coming

— Sam Coates Sky (@SamCoatesSky) December 6, 2023

Cleverly again refuses to answer a question from Labour about the cost of sending an asylum seeker to Rwanda.

The Times’ Aubrey Allegretti is reporting that Jenrick is on the brink of resigning.

James Cleverly bombarded with cries of “Where’s Robert?”

Tory MPs privately say they believe Jenrick is on the brink of quitting. pic.twitter.com/qqatHKmtXw

— Aubrey Allegretti (@breeallegretti) December 6, 2023

In response to the Rwanda draft bill, the Law Society of England and Wales president, Nick Emmerson, has said in a statement: “The UK government is seeking to overturn an evidence-based finding of fact by the supreme court and shield itself from accountability under both domestic and international law through this legislation.

“For the second time this year and by its own admission, the government is unable to guarantee the bill will be compatible with the European convention on human rights.

“The Rwanda scheme has never been the answer to tackling the asylum question. The government is risking the UK’s international reputation and its standing in the world to deliver a plan that can, at best, be described as gestural.”

Cleverly refuses to confirm whether Robert Jenrick is still immigration minister

With Robert Jenrick still absent in the Commons, Cleverly tells the home affairs committee chair, Diana Johnson: “I have no doubt the immigration minister will be in front of her committee as promised.”

James Cleverly says he expects the immigration minister to be before the home affairs committee next week… he doesn’t say who the immigration minister will be at that point.

— Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) December 6, 2023

Cleverly reiterates that the government will publish the cost of the Rwanda scheme on an annual basis.

Amid the cries of “Where is Robert?” from the Labour benches, Cleverly sought to assure the Commons that there was no risk of refugees being returned to their countries of origin from Rwanda as a result of the treaty and new legislation.

The home secretary told MPs: “It means that someone removed to that country will not be removed or sent to another country in contravention of any international law, and anyone who is seeking asylum or who has had asylum determination will have their claim determined and be treated in accordance with that country’s obligations under international law.

“Anyone removed to Rwanda under the provisions of the treaty will not be removed from Rwanda except to the United Kingdom in a very small number of limited and extreme circumstances.

“And should the UK request the return of any relocated person, Rwanda will make them available.”

From the Guardian’s Pippa Crerar.

A good analysis of the Rwanda legislation which, as Adam says, is an attempt by the government to “bypass legal protections which exist to protect the most vulnerable people in the world from persecution, so that it can look tough before an election”. https://t.co/gkZPwBqg5k

— Pippa Crerar (@PippaCrerar) December 6, 2023





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