Government crushes late-night challenges to secure passage of small boats law

Controversial plans to deal with the small boat crisis are about to go into effect after the Government squashed a string of renewed challenges from Westminster counterparts.

In a dramatic night, the Tory front bench pushed through five more changes the unelected chamber was seeking to the Illegal Migration Act, including modern slavery protections and child detention limits.

At least one other vote was abandoned amid government victories.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rev. Justin Welby, who slammed the bill, also dropped his call for an opinion on tackling the UK’s refugee and human trafficking problem after a similar proposal was rejected by MPs.

It marked a shocking end to parliamentary rows over key reforms that threatened to disappear from the table before the summer recess.

The end of the standoff between the unelected Chamber and MPs during the so-called ping-pong, with the Lords and Commons wrangling over legislation until an agreement is reached, paves the way for royal assent to the bill.

The reforms are a key part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s efforts to discourage people from making dangerous crossings across the English Channel.

They prevent people from applying for asylum in the UK if they enter illegally.

The government also hopes the changes will ensure that detainees are promptly deported, either to their home country or to a third country such as Rwanda, which is currently the subject of a lawsuit.

But the bill met with fierce opposition in the House of Lords, which has been accused of trying to force “carriage and horses” through the controversial plans.

In turn, the government has faced accusations that it intends to “punish” its counterparts for contesting the plans.

If people know there is no way for them to stay in the UK, they will not risk their lives paying criminals thousands of pounds to come here illegally

Lord Murray of Blidworth

Ministers had urged the Lords to put the bill into effect after signaling no further concessions were planned and MPs again overturning a number of revisions previously made by the Upper Chamber.

Home Secretary Lord Murray, from Blidworth, said the number of small boats arriving has “overwhelmed” the UK’s asylum system and providing shelter is costing taxpayers £6million a day.

He told his colleagues: “With over 45,000 people crossing the English Channel dangerously last year, this is simply no longer tenable.

“If people know there is no way for them to stay in the UK, they will not risk their lives paying criminals thousands of pounds to come here illegally.

“Therefore, it is only right that we stop the boats and destroy the business model of the criminal gangs that exploit vulnerable people so that ultimately the government will have greater capacity to provide a safe haven for those threatened by war and persecution.” .”

He urged the Lords “in passing this bill to respect the will of the elected House of Representatives and the British people”.

But while agreeing with the need to halt small boat crossings, Mr Welby said: “I don’t see how this (the bill) is supposed to do that and I haven’t heard anything to convince me.”

“But that’s the other place’s point of view. I agree that in the end this house will have to give way to the other place in most things but essential.”

He added: “The problem with the bill is that it didn’t start in the right place. First, there had to be … some national consensus and agreement on what the long-term goal of our migration and immigration policies is.”

The debate in Parliament took place as a barge intended to accommodate 500 migrants was underway.

Plans for the barge ‘Bibby Stockholm’ in the port of Portland, Dorset are a month behind schedule but the ship has finally left Falmouth, Cornwall where work has been done to prepare her for her new assignment.

Downing Street defended the use of barges to house migrants, stressing that it was a cheaper alternative to hotel accommodation.

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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