Victoria Derbyshire Tears Into Tory Priorities As Sunak Pulls Out All Stops For Rwanda Bill

Victoria Derbyshire pointed out a major flaw with the Rwanda bill on BBC Newsnight
Victoria Derbyshire pointed out a major flaw with the Rwanda bill on BBC Newsnight BBC Newsnight

Victoria Derbyshire took aim at the government last night by pointing out how the Rwanda deportation bill appears to have taken priority over the ongoing problems with trying alleged rapists.

The BBC Newsnight presenter cornered Tory MP, Kieran Mullan, over the controversial legislation, which passed through parliament on Monday night.

Derbyshire pointed out how PM Rishi Sunak has prepared a substantial body of legal experts to deal with the opposition the bill is expected to face.

She said: “The fact that you’ve magically found 150 judges and 25 court rooms, and they may be able to offer 5,000 sitting days, perhaps tells us – when we’ve got such a backlog – that it’s a priority for you to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, more of a priority than trying alleged rapists?”

The Rwanda bill was first proposed by Boris Johnson more two years ago, but it was soon challenged by the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights – and the government are clearly expecting more resistance now it has gone through parliament.

“Well, immigration judges are not the judges that try criminal courts,” Mullan replied on Newsnight. “And a criminal base is again not the same court base that’s used for immigration tribunal.

“I don’t think it’s an either or – we’ve shown repeatedly that we’re willing to take tougher action when it comes to  the worst, most violent offenders.”

Derbyshire said: “You can’t get them in a court room though, can you?”

The charity Rape Crisis England and Wales said last March that there was a “record high” backlog in crowd courts for rape and sexual assault cases.

And in March this year, it was revealed more than 180 alleged rape victims in England and Wales have faced more than two years of delay since their cases first went to court.

Mullan replied: “Well, you’re right to say that after the pandemic we faced a significant backlog in court space.

“Unprecedented investment has gone into the justice system to correct that.

“And if part of that investment is also on delivering on an important priority for the public, then I think it’s right that we do that.”

Derbyshire was not the only person to question the government’s priorities after the Rwanda bill passed last night, as furious comments have been appearing all over X (formerly Twitter).