AN attempt to stop Suella Braverman's Illegal Migration Bill has been heavily defeated in the House of Lords. 

This comes despite a rare intervention from Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who condemned the plans as “morally unacceptable and politically impractical”.

His intervention sparked criticism of the church leader at Westminster, who was told neither “handwringing or bell ringing” will solve the misery of the channel crossings.

Ministers have also said the top cleric was “wrong”.

The exchanges came during a lengthy, impassioned debate lasting more than 10 hours on the Illegal Migration Bill in the House of Lords.

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The flagship legislation cleared its first parliamentary hurdle in the unelected chamber after a Liberal Democrat bid to block it was rejected by 179 votes to 76, majority 103.

But the immigration reforms, which have already been passed by the Commons, are set for a rocky ride through the Lords, where they faced a barrage of criticism.

The proposed law change aims to ensure those who arrive in the UK without permission will be detained and promptly removed, either to their home country or a third country such as Rwanda.

It also includes provisions that would limit the ability of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to prevent the deportation of asylum seekers.

Critics argue the draft legislation breaks international law and threatens modern slavery protections.

In a withering attack at second reading, Welby said: “This Bill fails to take a long term and strategic view of the challenges of migration and undermines international co-operation rather than taking an opportunity for the UK to show leadership.”

Welby added: “It is isolationist, it is morally unacceptable and politically impractical to let the poorest countries deal with the crisis alone and cut our international aid.

“This bill is an attempt at a short-term fix.

“It risks great damage to the UK’s interests and reputation at home and abroad, let alone the interests of those in need of protection or the nations who together face this challenge.

“Our interests as a nation are closely linked to our reputation for justice and the rule of law and to our measured language, calm decision and careful legislation.

“None of those are seen here. This nation should lead internationally, not stand apart.”

Former Brexit chief negotiator and minister Lord Frost said: “We are told by some that to enshrine these principles in a bill is in some way shameful, inhuman, immoral or even evil. I disagree with that and I actually rather resent it. I can’t agree that we are not living up to our moral responsibility.”

In response, Welby pretended to slap his own wrists.

READ MORE: Scottish Tories in 'hiding' over Illegal Migration Bill

In summing up, Home Office minister Lord Murray of Blidworth said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury and other members were right to place the bill in its moral context. Proceeding with this bill is the moral course.

“We must put a stop to the dangerous channel crossings, putting lives at risk and splitting families.

“We must end the callous exploitation of vulnerable people by the people smugglers and we must uphold the law and ensure fair play for those who abide by our immigration rules.”

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said that he “respectfully” disagreed with Welby and said that he had not put forward an “alternative” to the Government’s policy.

He told ITV’s Peston programme: “He was actually very clear that we do need to stop the boats. He didn’t have an alternative solution as to how we would do that.”

He also said that he did not think that there was “anything moral in perpetuating the trade for people smugglers and human traffickers”.

Earlier in Parliament, Liberal Democrat and former senior police officer Lord Paddick told peers the legislation was “a low point in the history of this Government”.

He said: “This bill seeks to systematically deny human rights to a group of people desperately seeking sanctuary.”

Labour frontbencher Lord Coaker said: “In response to a broken system that is failing, we have a government playing fast and loose with our place in the world and our respect for international law. This must change.”