Unworkable, immoral and extortionately expensive

26 Apr 2024
Refugee boat at sea

The Conservatives’ Rwanda Scheme has passed its final stage in Parliament.

The Liberal Democrats have always opposed this unworkable, immoral and extortionately expensive scheme.

It betrays the UK’s proud tradition of providing sanctuary to refugees fleeing war and persecution.

It’s wasted millions of taxpayers’ money already, despite no flights taking off.

And it will do nothing to stop dangerous Channel crossings or combat people smuggling and human trafficking.

We’ve worked tirelessly to block the Bill at every step.

Our efforts in the Lords led to key amendments that significantly delayed its passage and tried to improve the Bill, however much we could.

While the Bill will now become law, our fight continues.

Instead of wasting millions on a policy which will never work, the government should be focusing on tackling the asylum backlog and creating safe and legal routes for refugees.

We all want to see an end to dangerous crossings on small boats across the Channel, but this legislation will do nothing of the sort.

Instead, Conservative plans would see those fleeing war and persecution detained and deported.

It would cost the taxpayer huge sums of money and, far from cracking down on illegal trafficking gangs, punish those seeking safety in the UK.

It runs roughshod over international law, which confirms that asylum seekers should not be punished for how they arrive in a country.

Liberal Democrats know that the best way to stop these dangerous crossings is to provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary for those that need it.

Our new policy, shows how we can do just that. It calls on the Government to:

  • Immediately scrap the Illegal Migration Bill.
  • Fix the broken asylum system by taking powers from the Home Office and establishing a new, dedicated unit to make decisions quicker and more fairly.
  • Provide safe and legal routes to sanctuary for refugees from all countries, including:
    • An expanded, properly funded resettlement scheme.
    • A new scheme for unaccompanied child refugees.
    • Reuniting unaccompanied children in Europe with family in the UK.
    • Humanitarian visas to allow asylum seekers to travel the UK to proceed with their claims.


The UK has a proud and long-standing tradition of opening its arms and providing sanctuary to those in need of protection. The Conservative government is trying to trash that legacy. Now, more than ever, we cannot turn our backs on those who need us.

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