Rishi Sunak rules out Rwanda bill concessions as MPs reject Lords’ amendments - live

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Downing Street has ruled out making concessions on its Safety of Rwanda Bill as MPs rejected a series of amendments by peers, in fresh parliamentary “ping pong”.

MPs have voted against several efforts by Lords to change the legislation intended to clear the way for asylum-seekers who cross the Channel in small boats to be deported to Rwanda.

Peers on Tuesday voted to amend the legislation for a third time.

The government had been reportedly considering concessions, including exemptions for Afghans who assisted British forces, but the prime minister’s official spokesman ruled out any such move.

Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer accused “billionaires” Rishi Sunak and Tory peer Lord Ashcroft of “smearing a working class woman”, his deputy, Angela Rayner.

The pair have criticised Ms Rayner over the sale of her former council house, suggesting she may have failed to pay capital gains tax or given false information.

Earlier it was reported that the police probe was looking at several allegations including tax relating to the sale.

Also at Prime Minister’s Questions, Rishi Sunak refused to rule out cuts to the NHS and state pensions to fund a £46bn national insurance giveaway.

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MPs reject protection for Afghan heroes from Rwanda deportation

MPs voted 302 to 244, majority 58, to reject Lords’ amendment 10D, which would exempt agents, allies and employees of the UK overseas, such as Afghans who fought alongside the British armed forces, from being removed to Rwanda.

It was the fourth amendment by peers in a row that MPs rejected.

Jane Dalton17 April 2024 16:45

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Promise Afghan war heroes won’t be sent to Rwanda, pleads Buckland

Ministers should give assurances that Afghans who served alongside UK armed forces will not be deported to Rwanda, a Conservative former justice secretary has said.

Sir Robert Buckland told the Commons: “I do think that there is still a class of people who have served this country, who have been brave and have exposed themselves to danger, who have not yet been dealt with.

“Many of them are in Pakistan, and I think that it would have been helpful to have perhaps seen an amendment in lieu to deal with that point, as (the minister) did with modern day slavery, for which I thank him.”

Sir Robert also insisted that checks on ensuring Rwanda was a safe country were “not a wrecking amendment”.

The Independent has campaigned for Afghan war heroes who served alongside British forces to be given refuge in the UK.

Jane Dalton17 April 2024 16:30

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MPs reject Lords’ effort to give UK courts power on Rwanda safety

MPs voted by 310 to 240, a majority of 70, to reject Lords amendment 6D. The amendment would restore the jurisdiction of domestic courts over the safety of Rwanda and enable them to intervene.

Jane Dalton17 April 2024 16:25

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MPs reject Lords’ ‘safe country’ amendment

MPs have voted by 306 to 240, majority 66, to reject Lords amendment 3E, which would require that Rwanda cannot be treated as a safe country until an independent monitoring body has verified that protections contained in the treaty are fully implemented and remain in place.

Jane Dalton17 April 2024 16:07

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MPs reject bid to ensure Rwanda Bill follows human-rights laws

MPs have voted by 306 to 240, a majority of 66, to reject a Lords amendment that sought to ensure the Safety of Rwanda Bill had “due regard” for international and key domestic laws, including human rights and modern slavery legislation.

Jane Dalton17 April 2024 15:50

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No 10 refuses to consider more Rwanda Bill concessions

Downing Street has ruled out making concessions on its Safety of Rwanda Bill as MPs and peers prepare for another round of parliamentary ping pong.

Peers have voted for a third time to amend the legislation that will allow asylum-seekers crossing the Channel in small boats to be deported to Rwanda.

The government had been reported to be considering making some concessions to ensure the Bill’s passage, including on exemptions for Afghan nationals who assisted British forces.

But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman ruled out any such move, telling reporters: “We are not considering concessions. We believe the Bill as it stands is the right Bill and the quickest way to get flights off the ground.”

MPs are therefore likely to reject the Lords’ amendments once again, before sending the legislation back to the Upper House later on Wednesday.

It will then be up to peers to decide whether to press their changes further, with Labour saying it would back two amendments proposed by the Lords.

A party spokesman said Labour would “continue to take the position that we have so far”, including by supporting proposals to exempt Afghans who helped UK troops.

There is potential for further debate on the Bill until late on Wednesday night as the legislation passes between Parliament’s two houses if agreement is not reached.

Jane Dalton17 April 2024 15:45

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Watch: Tory minister says she will not be reading Liz Truss's new book

Tory minister says she will not be reading Liz Truss's new book

Jane Dalton17 April 2024 15:42

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Ex-Tory minister slams ‘hypocritical’ focus on Angela Rayner’s tax affairs as police probe multiple claims

Nick Boles, who was an MP for nine years, slammed the scrutiny over the sale of Ms Rayner’s former council home and whether she avoided paying the right tax or had correctly registered at the right address.

Full report:

Matt Mathers17 April 2024 13:30

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‘Shout a bit louder so none of us can hear’: MPs in row over Rayner house sale live on air

Two MPs became embroiled in a row over the investigation into Angela Rayner and the sale of her former home live on air after PMQs.

James Daly, the Conservative Party deputy chairman, was asked by senior Labour MP Chris Bryant what offences he thought Ms Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, had committed.

Greater Manchester Police launched an investigation after Mr Daly contacted them with concerns about how the force had initially responded after it emerged that Ms Rayner had not paid capital gains tax on the sale of the property.

When asked by the Labour MP what he thought Ms Rayner had done, Mr Daly said “the matter is with Greater Manchester Police - they’ve confirmed” before being interrupted by Mr Bryant.

“Shout a bit louder so none of us can hear,” Mr Daly then told Mr Bryant. “Unlike Chris, who shouts and makes all sorts of public allegations, what I want to do is - an allegation has been made to the police, the police are investigating that allegation - lets give them the time and opportunity to do that”.

It is the second time this week Mr Daly has refused to say what offences he thought Ms Rayner had committed. Read more below:

Matt Mathers17 April 2024 13:07

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Watch: Sunak takes aim at Rayner’s ‘tax affairs’ during fiery exchange over Liz Truss’s book at PMQs

Sunak takes aim at Rayner’s ‘tax affairs’ in PMQs exchange over new Liz Truss book

Rishi Sunak took a jibe at Angela Rayner’s tax affairs during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 17 April. Sir Keir Starmer opened the session by joking that he was “privileged to be the proud owner” of Liz Truss’s new book and took issue with her claim that 2022’s disastrous Budget was “the happiest moment of her premiership”. “Has the prime minister met anyone with a mortgage who agrees?” he asked, drawing laughter from the Commons. “All I’d say is, he’d ought to spend a bit less time reading that book and a bit more time reading the deputy leader’s tax advice,” Mr Sunak said, hitting back. He was referencing the row over Ms Rayer’s previous living arrangements.

Matt Mathers17 April 2024 13:00

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