Rishi Sunak vows 'showdown' with Lords planning to block migrant crisis solution: 'We will not be doing this the polite way!'

​Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday

Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday

Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 29/06/2023

- 09:12

Updated: 29/06/2023

- 10:51

The Government is gearing up to play ping pong with peers until the Illegal Migration Bill passes Lords

Rishi Sunak’s allies are spreading assurances that he is ready to roll up his trouser legs and get to work strong-arming unelected peers over illegal migration.

Where the House of Lords has consistently blocked deportation legislation and recommended amendments, Sunak is set to employ the dark arts of the Parliament Act 1911 to force through his agenda.

A bill will conventionally pass through a polite ‘ping pong’ process, whereby legislation will go back and forth between the two chambers with a day or two given in between until a cordial resolution is reached.

However, in the week before summer recess, the Government is expected to hasten its efforts through all-night sittings and votes until the Lords backs down.

Sunak in front of an immigration enforcement van

Sunak is reportedly ready to bend the Lords to his will


A source told the Daily Express: “We will not be doing this the polite way. There will be a showdown in the week before the summer recess.

“This is about showing the Lords they cannot go against the elected government.”

The government have suffered a major setback in the Court of Appeal today, which ruled plans to send migrants to Rwanda as unlawful.

The Government is now expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, while Suella Braverman is due to give a statement to the House of Commons on Thursday afternoon.

Ministers are said to be considering appeasing peers with amendments such as allowing pregnant migrants to remain in the UK until they have given birth.

Migrants getting off a lifeboat

The Illegal Migration Bill passed through the Commons with a majority of 59 votes in March


Ministers are also said to be considering allowing “genuine” children to be exempt from certain processes, though this will come with rigorous checks to prevent “grown men” from posing as teenagers.

James Daly, a member of the Home Affairs select committee, has been outspoken in his support about hitting below the ermine belt.

Daly said: “This is exactly the right thing to do. Unelected peers want to water down this Bill so much that it becomes meaningless.

“But they haven’t got a clue about the public’s concerns about migrants entering this country illegally and they don’t seem to care either.

“Their hand-wringing is delaying new laws drawn up by the elected government. It is time they stopped frustrating the will of the people.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby speaking in the House of Lords, London, during the debate on the Government's Illegal Migration BillThe Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby speaking in the House of Lords, London, during the debate on the Government's Illegal Migration BillPA

Meanwhile, Conservative MP Mark Eastwood spun the stalling on Labour: “It’s clear that people want the government to take action on illegal crossings, but Labour has consistently stood in the way of any action we’re taking to stop foreign criminal gangs putting people at risk in small boats.

“People living near the hotels housing asylum seekers are telling me that they know stopping the boats is the only way to get control of this situation, but Labour isn’t listening and instead are playing political games in an attempt to thwart this bill.”

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, has been a particularly vocal critic in the Lords of the Bill, condemning it as “morally unacceptable and politically impractical”.

This comes following the news that the Rwanda flights will cost £169,000 per person, while processing and supporting a migrant for four years in the UK has been estimated at £106,000.

The number of migrants detected attempting to enter the UK illegally has risen from 7,257 in 2018, to 8,239 in 2019, 8,466 in 2020, 28,526 in 2021 and 45,755 in 2022.

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