Receive free UK immigration updates

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will on Wednesday join other faith leaders in criticising Rishi Sunak’s flagship Illegal Migration Bill, legislation that has already been savaged in the House of Lords.

Welby will urge Sunak to develop an asylum system based on “justice and compassion”. He said he and other religious leaders were “united in our concern for people seeking sanctuary”.

The archbishop, who sits in the upper house of the British parliament, will propose an amendment to the bill calling on the government to develop a long-term strategy for tackling the refugee crisis and human trafficking.

“We are standing together to call on the government to honour our obligations to the world’s most vulnerable people,” Welby said. “The amendment I have tabled to the Illegal Migration Bill is intended to focus our efforts on that goal.”

The intervention comes as the Lords prepares for the final report stage debate on the bill, which toughens Britain’s asylum system and allows people who arrive by “irregular means” to be deported to Rwanda.

The Rwanda policy was deemed unlawful by the Court of Appeal last month; it argued that the east African nation was not a “safe third country” in which asylum claims could be processed.

Sunak has insisted that Rwanda is safe and will take his case to the UK Supreme Court, but the Illegal Migration Bill has also run into heavy opposition from the Lords.

The bill suffered a series of defeats last week and on Monday, with peers voting to insert amendments that would give extra protection to children and pregnant women and introduce modern slavery safeguards.

Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons, is expected on Thursday to set out how the government intends to proceed, with MPs likely to be asked to overturn most or all of the Lords amendments.

That could lead to a protracted tussle between the Commons and Lords — known as parliamentary “ping pong” — in which MPs can constitutionally prevail, but only after protracted debate and further public scrutiny.

Sunak believes that the public supports a tough approach to people arriving in Britain by irregular means and has made “stop the boats” one of his five political objectives. 

The faith leaders give their support to Welby’s amendment in a letter to the Times newspaper in which they say the bill “fails to meet the basic test of an evidence-based and workable policy”.

The letter is signed by Welby, along with Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York; Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham; Anthony Cotterill, Territorial Commander of the Salvation Army; Rabbi Charley Baginsky and Rabbi Josh Levy; Trupti Patel, president of the Hindu Forum of Britain; Lord Indarjit Singh, director of the network of Sikh organisations in the UK; Imam Qari Asim of the Makkah Mosque in Leeds and Imam Sayed Razawi.


To Get The Latest News Update

Sign up to Our Subscription.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

To Get The Latest News Update

Sign up to Our Subscription.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *