Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024

Robert Jenrick Steps Down as Immigration Minister Amid Rwanda Legislation Controversy

Robert Jenrick Steps Down as Immigration Minister Amid Rwanda Legislation Controversy

Robert Jenrick has stepped down as the UK's immigration minister, criticizing the inadequacy of the government's new Rwanda policy.
Jenrick argued the policy needs stronger safeguards to avoid endless legal challenges that could stall the program.

The UK government has declared Rwanda as a safe destination for asylum seekers in new emergency legislation, but critics, including Jenrick, believe it doesn't fully address the issue. Despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's support, Jenrick felt he couldn't endorse the legislation as it stood, calling it overly optimistic.

Sunak described Jenrick's resignation as unfortunate, refuting his claims and highlighting that removing judicial oversight could collapse the initiative. The Rwanda plan, intended to deter irregular English Channel crossings, has yet to transfer any asylum seekers due to legal roadblocks.

Jenrick, a Sunak campaign supporter, saw the policy as a critical test for the government to stem irregular migration. Labour's Yvette Cooper criticized the Conservative party's disarray and Sunak's faltering leadership as Jenrick resigned.

There's internal speculation that Sunak might face a no-confidence vote. The proposed bill reacts to a Supreme Court ruling against deportation plans to Rwanda, aiming to circumvent certain Human Rights Act provisions and international obligations.

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman and her faction have called for more extreme measures, including overriding all human rights and refugee protection laws.

The draft bill narrowly skirts around some European Court of Human Rights directives, still permitting migrants to challenge their deportation on individual grounds of serious harm risk.

Critics say the bill is fundamentally defective and prone to legal entanglements. Moderates within the Conservative party, such as the One Nation group, oppose overriding international agreements and plan to scrutinize the bill's legality. Government lawyers have flagged potential compatibility issues with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Robert Jenrick, a 41-year-old ex-solicitor, became a Conservative MP in 2014 and has since held cabinet positions, including housing secretary under Boris Johnson.

He is a father of three and a known proponent of strict immigration control. Jenrick's tenure has been marred by some controversies, including a planning permission dispute involving a Tory donor.

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