Case study The Illegal Immigration Bill

The House of Lords subjected the Illegal Immigration Bill to Parliamentary Ping-Pong but ultimately failed to make significant changes.

For weeks, the government was locked in a battle over the final shape of the bill with the Lords, where a cross-party group of peers made repeated amendments.

The bill passed between the House of Commons and House of Lords three times, in a process known as parliamentary ping-pong.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May led a series of backbench rebellions in the Commons over plans to restrict access to the UK asylum system for victims of modern slavery.

In a session involving 18 separate formal votes, the Lords’ amendments were all overturned – despite a small group of Tory rebels fighting to keep the peers’ proposals on unaccompanied children, safe and legal routes, and modern slavery protections. The voting in the Commons lasted nearly four hours. 

In a joint statement the UN human rights chief Volker Turk and the UN refugees head Filippo Grandi said the bill "will have profound consequences for people in need of international protection".

"This new legislation significantly erodes the legal framework that has protected so many, exposing refugees to grave risks in breach of international law," Mr Grandi said.