Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley: My Lords, I welcome this legislation, not least because no alternative has been put forward by any of the critics in this House. Will the Government take advice from the French Government on how to announce these matters? On 31 October, when the French Interior Minister announced that France would ignore rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, there was no outrage from anyone in this House, nor from Foreign Office mandarins, the Bishops’ Benches or the opposition parties. On 14 November, France put it into practice and deported an Uzbek refugee, despite a ruling from the European court that it should not do so and ignoring its own domestic legal procedures. There was no outcry; there was not even a BBC report of this event. In America, Biden, who originally criticised the behaviours of his predecessor, has refouled 1 million refugees across the border with Mexico in the past 18 months. If human rights are international and universal, why do they not apply in France and America?

    Lord Sharpe of Epsom: My noble friend makes a good point, as he did earlier this week when asking his Question. I must say, since answering it I have pored over the various publications one would normally expect to make remarks about such a potential outrage, and I have found that they are few, so my noble friend is quite right to make that observation. Obviously, it is not for a Minister to comment from the Dispatch Box on what other countries are doing, but I would observe that plenty of other countries in Europe and around the world are investigating similar schemes to the one we propose. We have those conversations on a regular basis, including with countries such as Germany and Denmark.

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