Cabinet minister denies PM lied to parliament over Partygate
Prime minister Boris Johnson is addressing the House of Commons in his first statement to MPs since he was fined by the Metropolitan Police for attending a birthday party – thrown in his honour – at No 10 while strict Covid restrictions were in place.
It comes as speaker Lindsay Hoyle earlier announced that MPs will get the opportunity to debate, and vote on, whether Boris Johnson should be referred to the Commons privileges committee over potentially false statements he made to parliament about Partygate.
Addressing MPs, Ms Patel said “change is needed because people are dying attempting to come to the UK”, outlining rising costs and abuses of the system and saying British taxpayers have “had enough”.
Yvette Cooper, Labour’s shadow home secretary, responded by calling the plan “unworkable”, while the SNP’s home affairs spokesman Stuart McDonald said: “This is a cruel and a catastrophic policy. It will not hurt smugglers but will further seriously harm people who have fled persecution.”
PM gives statement to Commons amid accusations he misled MPs over Partygate
The PM has stood up in the Commons to address MPs in his first parliamentary statement since he was issued a fixed penalty notice fine for attending his lockdown-busting birthday party held in No 10.
Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 17:02
Watch: Theresa May clashes with Priti Patel over Rwanda asylum seeker policy
Theresa May clashes with Priti Patel over Rwanda asylum seeker policy
Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 16:45
Corbyn criticises Patel’s lack of ‘humanity’ in Rwanda plans
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has asked the home secretary whether those seeking asylum in the UK deserve a sense of “humanity” from Priti Patel in place of being deported to incarceration in Rwanda.
Ms Patel responded to him by saying his tone in relation to Rwanda was “quite questionable.”
Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 16:40
Rwanda plans are ‘cruel and a catastrophic’, says SNP
SNP home affairs spokesman Stuart McDonald said: “This is a cruel and a catastrophic policy. It will not hurt smugglers but will further seriously harm people who have fled persecution.”
He added: “Why aren’t we allowed to see the criteria for deciding who will be sent? Where is the transparency in that? And how will she monitor their treatment? Her Government has completely failed to stop abuses in UK detention centres, never mind centres that are 5,000 miles away.
“In short this disastrous policy has nothing to do with the global migration crisis, it is everything to do with distracting from the PM’s political crises.”
Priti Patel said the final comment was “absolutely unacceptable” and accused opposition MPs of “playing party political games”.
The Home Secretary said Rwanda is “home to resettling over 130,000 refugees”, adding: “They have done that successfully and I think your comments are a slur to the successful efforts of our partners in Rwanda.
“Rwanda is a safe and secure country with the respect for the rule of law. I think members should listen to the undercurrent of their tone towards the country of Rwanda.”
Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 16:25
Breaking: Theresa May refuses to support Rwanda asylum policy after questioning legality
Addressing Priti Patel in the House of Commons, the former prime minister and home secretary asked for more details of the scheme and who will be affected by it.
“From what I have heard and seen so far, I do not support the removal to Rwanda policy on the grounds of legality, practicality and efficacy,” she said.
“If it is the case that families will not be broken up, where is her evidence that this will not simply lead to an increase in the trafficking of women and children?”
Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 16:16
Patel claims UK does more for those fleeing ‘persecution, conflict or instability’ than any other country
The home secretary has claimed that the UK has done more than any other country in recent history to “support those fleeing persecution, conflict or instability.”
Speaking to the Commons this afternoon, Priti Patel said that, despite her claim, “we cannot focus our support on those who need it most or effectively control our borders without tackling illegal migration which is facilitated by people smugglers.”
She told MPs: “In recent years alone we have welcomed more than 185,000 people through safe and legal routes… In addition we have welcomed more than 40,000 people in recent years through our refugee family reunion routes.”
“Serious organised criminals that profit from human misery, who do not care about people drowning in the Channel or suffocating in the back of containers.”
She went on: “This type of illegal migration puts unsustainable pressures on our public services and local communities. Every day the broken asylum system costs the taxpayer almost £5 million in hotel accommodation alone. The cost of the asylum system is the highest in over two decades at over £1.5 billion.”
Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 16:12
Theresa May not supporting Rwanda immigration plans
Former prime minister Theresa May has said she does not support the government’s plans to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda on the grounds of “legality, practicality and efficacy”.
Emily Atkinson19 April 2022 16:04
Boris Johnson to address Commons at 4.30pm
There is just half an hour to go until Boris Johnson comes to the House of Commons to speak about the ongoing Party saga, as well as provide an update on Ukraine.
It will mark the first time the prime minister has addressed MPs since he was fined for breaking his own Covid laws, after police found he had attended a birthday bash at No 10 during lockdown.
He is due to give a “full-throated apology”, according to reports, but he will not go into much detail about the various events he is yet to potentially receive a fine for.
Stay tuned for live updates on the statement, which is due to begin at around 4.30pm.
Sam Hancock19 April 2022 16:01
Patel speaks to MPs about plan to divert refugees to Rwanda
Next up on the Commons schedule is Priti Patel, the home secretary, who is making a statement to the Commons about the government’s plan to send asylum seekers arriving in the UK on small boats to Rwanda.
She insists the “world-leading” plan is the UK’s best bet to solving its current Channel-crossings crisis.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, responds by calling the plan “unworkable”. She said the Home Office was paying Rwanda £120m, but that was before a single asylum seeker was send to Africa under the scheme. So in practice that was the price of the press release issued by Ms Patel last week, she added.
It comes after the UK’s anti-slavery commissioner similarly slammed the “lack of humanity” in the government’s plans, warning trafficking victims sent there are likely to be deprived of support.
Responding to the controversial deal for the first time, Dame Sara Thornton told The Independentshe had “significant concerns”, citing evidence the African country has detained thousands of potential trafficking victims without providing them with proper care in the past year.
Sam Hancock19 April 2022 15:47
Tories who vote against Labour motion ‘to be accused of cover up’ – report
ITV’s Paul Brand says a “Labour source” has told him that Tory MPs who vote against the Labour motion on Thursday will be accused by opposition politicians of supporting a cover up.
Sam Hancock19 April 2022 15:44