Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, stood firm today, asserting that the Small Boats Bill will not be further diluted despite persistent attempts by Peers to amend it.
In response to ongoing challenges, Mr Jenrick reaffirmed the government’s position, emphasizing that no more changes will be accepted for the Small Boats Bill.
The announcement came as Simon Danczuk, a former Labour MP, called for a referendum on the Rwanda scheme as a strategy to bypass opposition from judges and left-leaning Peers.
During an interview on TalkTV, Danczuk stated, “It is evident that the public wants us to have control over our borders, and it should be put to them in a referendum.”
The bill is currently caught in a back-and-forth between MPs and Peers, as they engage in a parliamentary battle over its provisions. The legislation is expected to be implemented in the autumn, aiming to address the issue of small-boat migration.
So far this year, over 13,000 migrants have arrived in Britain via small boats, adding urgency to the government’s efforts to pass the bill before the summer recess.
Last night, the House of Lords reintroduced several amendments to the bill, shortly after MPs had voted to remove them. However, Mr Jenrick remained resolute, expressing no intention to compromise further. The government has already made concessions in an attempt to appease the dissenting Peers.
Mr Jenrick criticized opposition parties for their immature approach, noting their failure to present alternative proposals. He argued that their behaviour does not reflect a serious or mature engagement with the issue at hand.
When asked if he planned to concede to further changes, Mr Jenrick stated, “I don’t expect to, no. That’s not our intention.”
The minister highlighted the support from Conservative grandee Lord Ken Clarke, a former home secretary, who recognized the Rwanda scheme as the only viable option to address the problem.
Mr Jenrick emphasized, “The key thing that emerged from the House of Lords debates is that those who criticize our plans should provide an alternative.”
The Small Boats Bill is facing its final battle in the Supreme Court, where its legality will be evaluated. The court will hear arguments from both sides before making a decision that could either permanently ground flights or allow them to resume in the coming weeks.