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A Tory peer has made what’s been called an ‘utterly extraordinary’ defence of the Rwanda scheme on Sky News today after he said Rwanda was safe, so long as you stay on the right side of the government. 

In an exchange between Tory peer Lord Robathan and Labour peer Lord Alfred Dubs about the safety of Rwanda, Robathan said the country was “perfectly safe” to live in “if you don’t undermine the government”. 

Robathan was responding to the argument made by Lord Dubs, who pointed out that refugees were currently being granted asylum from Rwanda to the UK over ‘well-founded’ fears of persecution.

To which Lord Robathan replied: “That’s because they are opposing the government, and the government is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination; however, it is a perfectly safe place to live in if you don’t oppose the government and try not to undermine it.”

He added: “This nonsense about it not being safe is ridiculous”.

A reminder that it was in November 2023, when the Supreme Court ruled the Tory’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful, on the basis that it was not a safe country given the high risk that asylum seekers could be subject to persecution and ill-treatment.

Lord Dubs responded saying it was a “nonsense of legislation” and “embarrassing to the government and this country”.

“We’re saying the Supreme Court doesn’t matter, our international obligations don’t matter,” said the 91 year-old Labour Lord. “As a country we’ve always been as good as our word, we’ve always stuck by international agreements and conventions, now we are saying, let’s tear them up.”

One X user responded to Robathan’s comments: “By this ridiculous standard, there is no need for anyone from Eritrea, North Korea or Russia to seek asylum elsewhere.”

While Best of Britain called it an “utterly extraordinary” thing to say.

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

The post Tory peer says Rwanda is safe ‘if you don’t oppose the government’ appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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