Beyond Rwanda: A Fairer Way Forward on Asylum

17 Mar 2024
Photo shows a person's clenched fists, they are wearing a grey jacket.

In the ongoing saga of the Conservative Government's Rwanda asylum scheme, the truth is clear: it's destined to fail. 

This policy is immoral, unworkable and extortionately expensive for the taxpayer. And it betrays our country’s proud tradition of offering sanctuary to those in need.

When the Conservatives first came up with this scheme, we told them it was wrong and  wouldn’t work. It’s unsurprising that three Home Secretaries and millions of taxpayers’ pounds later, the Conservatives still have nothing to show for their failing Rwanda policy.

The fact that this Government is content to squander millions on a totally unworkable white elephant of a policy tells you everything you need to know about their priorities.

It will do nothing to stop dangerous Channel crossings, people trafficking or modern slavery. All Rishi Sunak cares about is acting tough. So much so that he’s content to trample the rule of law and tear up human rights protection. 

That’s why this Conservative Government refuses to even consider doing what would actually work to stop the dangerous crossings - tackling the backlog and creating safe and legal routes for refugees. 

Liberal Democrats have been clear - we have no faith in this failing scheme. Today, we have passed new policy to keep fighting this policy every step of the way, and to offer a positive alternative that would actually work: 

  • Scrap the Rwanda Scheme: This failing policy has cost taxpayers at least £241 million, money that could have been spent on crucial services.
  • Uphold Human Rights: Reaffirm the UK’s commitment to upholding the important human rights legislation, including the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Refugee Convention. 
  • Tackle the Backlog: The asylum system is in disarray, with 128,000 people still waiting for an initial decision on their claim. The government should establish a new, dedicated unit to process claims quickly and fairly. 
  • Create Safe and Legal Routes: An expanded refugee resettlement scheme and the creation of humanitarian travel permits to undercut the people traffickers and help those fleeing war and violence.
  • Give Asylum Seekers the Right to Work: Manage the costs of the system and give individuals a sense of dignity and purpose.

It's time for the Conservative Government to admit defeat on the Rwanda scheme. It's not just failing; it's actively harming individuals and wasting taxpayer money.

Instead, let's focus on what truly works: tackling the backlog, creating safe routes, and upholding our commitment to human rights. As Liberal Democrats, we will continue to fight for a fairer and more compassionate asylum system.




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