David Cameron grilled by Lords on UK foreign policy – politics live | Politics – Freedom Voice


Cameron insists there will be no reduction in military support for Ukraine in 2024

Asked how much the UK will spend on arms for Ukraine in 2024, Cameron says he does not have that figure to hand. But he says support will contain at the scale it has been before, or beyond that.

He says the UK will focus on what it is Ukraine needs.

Key events

Back in the Lords Angela Smith, the Labour leader in the Lords, asks if Cameron is confident that sanctions are properly enforced.

Cameron says he has not specifically asked about this, but he says he will consult his office on this.

Ben Quinn

Ben Quinn

Overriding the European convention on human rights (ECHR) in a bid to realise the government’s Rwanda deportation policy is a “red line” for moderate Conservative MPs, a grouping representing them has warned.

The One Nation Caucus, which represents 106 Tory MPs, said it would be closely examining the details of legislation being brought forwrard by the government very carefully to see if it maintains the UK’s commitment to the rule of law.

Matt Warman, a senior member of the caucus, said:

Overriding the ECHR is a red line for a number of Conservatives. Protecting and
reforming institutions and upholding human rights should be the cornerstone of any
Conservative government.

Another MP, the former first secretary of state Damian Green, said the government should think twice before overriding both the ECHR and Human Rights Act.

Cameron is now dealing with the second question, from Labour’s George Foulkes, about Belarus.

Foulkes says 1,500 people have been imprisoned by the Belarusian regime for their political stance. He says the UK should be imposing more sanctions on Belarus.

Cameron says 182 individuals and entities have already been sanctioned. That list is kept under review. This is Europe’s totalitarian regime, he says. He thanks Foulkes for his campaigning on this and says he agrees with the aim of the question.

Asked about claims that Turkish ports are being used to supply arms to Russia, Cameron says it is important to see where dual-use goods are being supplied to Russia. There are concerns about Turkey, he says. He says he raised that with the Turks. But there are concerns about other countries too.

Cameron insists there will be no reduction in military support for Ukraine in 2024

Asked how much the UK will spend on arms for Ukraine in 2024, Cameron says he does not have that figure to hand. But he says support will contain at the scale it has been before, or beyond that.

He says the UK will focus on what it is Ukraine needs.

In the Lords David Cameron is now taking question.

George Robertson, the former Labour defence secretary and former Nato secretary general, asks about support for Ukraine.

Cameron says the UK has provided humanitarian and economic support worth more than £4.7bn to Ukraine, and that it will continue to provide support.

Robertson asks why there was no mention of extra military aid in the autumn statement. He says the money offered for 2023 is about to run out.

Cameron says the UK has given military support worth £4.6bn to Ukraine. This is essential, he says, and it will continue.

Patrick Cormack (Con) asks if Cameron can do anything to speed up the supply of arms.

Cameron says there should be more focus on the success that Ukraine is having. On land the picture has been difficult, but in the Black Sea the Ukrainians have pushed the Russians right back. And he claims the Ukranians destroyed around one fifth of Russian helicopters in one night recently.

A reader asks:

Are those new immigration rules something the govt can just unilaterally decree? Or does this have to go to a vote?

In practice, they will just happen.

To implement the changes, the government does need to do it through secondary legislation – which involves changing regulations.

Secondary legislation is subject to approval by parliament. There are two mechanisms (or at least two mechanisms – in practice it is more complicated). Regulations subject to the affirmative procedure have to be approved and voted on, but regulations subject to the negative procedure go through unless voted down – and this more or less never happens, mainly because the government gets to decide whether or not there should be a vote.

Immigration rules are changed via the negative procedure, the Home Office says, and that means there is no realistic chance of a vote.

David Cameron to take questions on foreign policy in Lords

David Cameron is about to take questions in the House of Lords for the first time in his capacity as foreign secretary.

The session will last for about 40 minutes and four peers are down to ask the main questions, covering Ukraine, Belarus, Afghanistan and the EU. Other peers will be allowed to ask supplementary questions, but they should be broadly related to the main ones.

The Lords order paper, with the wording of the questions, is here.

Cleverly claims Rwanda deportation plan not about getting ‘cheap or quick popularity’

At his press conference in Kigali James Cleverly, the home secretary, said the government was not trying to send asylum seekers to Rwanda as a means of gaining “cheap or quick popularity”. (See 1.49pm.) He said:

The UK and Rwanda are working on this because it is important, not because it is necessarily easy or that it buys you cheap or quick popularity.

But one of the claims about the policy is that it was originally announced precisely for that purpose. This is what Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser, posted on X two days ago.

He’s right.

the whole point of Rwanda was an *alternative* to facing the reality of the problems. but because Tory-SW1 world is so insane, Boris’s trick to divert them has actually worked far better than he planned & has taken on a life of its own, with even the new PM treating it as if it were an actual plan.

and even more weirdly, establishment NPCs like Will Tanner convinced themselves doubling down on it was a ‘win-win’ politically. and Sunak bought it because like other Tory MPs he wanted to believe in a *fake* rather than face the actual problems – which No10 has actively avoided facing since people told them in Jan ‘rwanda cannot work, here are all the legal & practical reasons why’.

and now Tanner is reduced to telling people in No10 ‘all the polls are wrong like in 2016’

so many layers of how people in politics run *denial-of-service attacks on their own perception of reality*…

Tanner is Will Tanner, Rishi Sunak’s deputy chief of staff.

he’s right.
the whole point of Rwanda was an *alternative* to facing the reality of the problems.
but because Tory-SW1 world is so insane, Boris’s trick to divert them has actually worked far better than he planned & has taken on a life of its own, with even the new PM treating… https://t.co/3Tx1MDERQD

— Dominic Cummings (@Dominic2306) December 3, 2023

Cummings was commenting on a tweet from a former No 10 adviser who claimed the Rwanda agreement was never intended to be a serious solution to the small boats problem.

The Rwanda policy was announced in April 2022, when Boris Johnson administration was floundering, partly because of the Partygate scandal. If it was intended to provide a popularity boost, it did not work. Public reaction was initially relatively, but not universally, favourable. But, over the last 18 months, as the government has repeatedly failed to implement the policy, it has reinforced perceptions that the government is incompetent.

Home Office publishses details of new UK-Rwanda treaty

The Home Office has sent out a news release about the UK-Rwanda treaty. It is due to publish the text of the treaty too, although it does not seem to be online yet.

The treaty was signed in response to the supreme court saying the deportation policy was unlawful because there was a risk of asylum seekers sent to Rwanda being returned to the country from which they were fleeing (“refoulement”, to use the migration law term – a practice banned under various conventions protecting refugees).

The treaty addresses the concerns of the supreme court in two ways.

First, as a treaty and not just an agreement between two governments (the previous one was described as a “memorandum of understanding”), it has greater legal clout. It is legally binding (meaning Rwanda is under more pressure to comply).

And, second, some of the safeguards in the original agreement have been beefed up, in response to concerns that the supreme court had about the Rwandan asylum system not containing enough measures to protect claimants.

Describing the treaty, the Home Office says:

The landmark treaty is binding in international law and ensures that people relocated to Rwanda under the partnership are not at risk of being returned to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened – an act known as refoulement.

It also enhances the functions of the independent monitoring committee to ensure compliance with the obligations in the treaty, such as reception conditions, processing of asylum claims, and treatment and support for individuals including up to five years after they have received final determination of their status. The committee is made up of right independent members.

The monitoring committee will also develop a system which will enable relocated individuals and legal representatives to lodge confidential complaints directly to them. It will have the power to set its own priority areas for monitoring, and have unfettered access for the purposes of completing assessments and reports. It may publish reports as it sees fit on its findings.

To further bolster assurances that relocated individuals will not be returned, under the treaty, Rwanda’s asylum system will be strengthened through a new appeal body. The appeal body will consist of a Rwandan and other Commonwealth national co-president, and be composed of judges from a mixture of nationalities with asylum and humanitarian protection expertise (appointed by the co-presidents) to hear individual appeals.

Rwanda has been ‘unfairly treated’ by UK supreme court, its foreign minister suggests

Q: Rwanda has been traduced by the supreme court in the UK. So why is Rwanda continuing with this agreement? Why is Rwanda “bending over backwards over this”?

Biruta says the government is continuing with this because it thinks it is doing the right thing in terms of dealing with a global crisis.

There are situations around the world that will continue to produce refugees.

It is not helpful to criticise a country like Rwanda that is offering solutions, he says.

We were “unfairly treated” by international organisations, by the media, by courts, but we think we are doing the right thing, he says.

And he suggests Rwanda’s critics have not always offered solution.

The government can survive criticisms from these actors, he says.

Cleverly says he has “a huge amount of admiration” for the Rwandan government. It has been getting criticism out of proportion to the effort it has been making.

The Rwandan government is trying to continue its processes, as all governments should do this.

He says the UK and Rwandan government are doing this because it is important, not for quick popularity.

UPDATE: Cleverly said:

The UK and Rwanda are working on this because it is important, not because it is necessarily easy or that it buys you cheap or quick popularity.

We do this despite the fact that it is difficult and sensitive, because if we don’t address these issues, the people that will ultimately be the winners are the people smugglers, they are the slave traders, they are the criminal gangs …

Rwanda is stepping forward to be a thoughtful and careful partner in solving these incredibly difficult international issues.

I think that they deserve support in doing that and I have been uncomfortable with the tone and the volume of some of the criticism directed at Rwanda for having the courage to step forward and to try and be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

Q: Will Rwanda remain committed to this even if there are further delays?

Biruta says Rwanda is committed to this partnership.

Cleverly says UK not paying extra money to Rwanda specifically linked to new treaty

Q: How much extra money has the UK paid Rwanda?

Cleverly says the Rwanda government has not asked for, and the UK has not provided, any funding related to the treaty.

But the deal reflects costs that may be imposed on Rwanda as a result of the partnership.

Dealing with migration is important, and is not cost-free. But it is the right thing to do, he says.

Rwanda is helping the UK in its fight against illegal migration, he says. They are doing so “professionally, thoughtfully” and as a partner working on a global challenge.

Q: Were you offended by the supreme court ruling?

Biruta says before the judgement Rwanda had been accepted as a legitimate partner. He implies the ruling was a surprise. But he says that in life there is always room for improvement.

Rwanda treaty addresses all concerns raised by supreme court, Cleverly claims

Cleverly and Biruta are now taking questions.

Chris Mason, the BBC’s political editor, goes first.

Q: You are not the first home secretary to come here. What makes you think this time will be different? And are you confident flights will happen?

Cleverly says the UK has been working with Rwanda on a range of issues, including the migration partnership. The Rwandan government has shown an “energy and a professionalism”, and a desire to work with the UK, he says.

He says he wants this part of the migration plan up and running as soon as possible.

The treaty addresses all the points raised by the supreme court, he says.

The UNHCR regards Rwanda as a credible, long-term partner, he says.

And he says the terms of the treaty will be reflected in domestic legislation soon.

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top