• Monday, March 04, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Tory MPs revolt against Sunak’s Rwanda bill

The objective of the rebel MPs is to tighten the conditions under which appeals could be lodged, aiming to prevent potential legal blocks on deportation flights

Migrants are helped by RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat before being taken to a beach in Dungeness, on the south-east coast of England, on November 24, 2021, after crossing the English Channel – Representative Image (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Rishi Sunak faces a brewing rebellion within the Conservative party as over 30 MPs from the party’s right-wing bloc rally to change the bill next week regarding the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The proposed amendments aim to restrict the avenues for appealing deportation orders, showcasing deep divisions within the Tories concerning this priority policy of the Prime Minister, the BBC reported.

The rebel MPs, including notable figures like former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former home secretary Suella Braverman, and ex-migration minister Robert Jenrick, argue that the current bill, designed to label Rwanda as a safe destination for refugees, fails to curtail individual appeals effectively.

Their objective is to tighten the conditions under which appeals could be lodged, aiming to prevent potential legal blocks on deportation flights.

The initial Supreme Court ruling against sending asylum seekers to Rwanda led the government to introduce this bill, aiming to establish Rwanda’s status as a safe haven in UK law and circumvent legal hindrances to deportation flights.

However, rebel MPs anticipate that the proposed bill, in its current form, might still succumb to individual legal challenges, prompting their call for stricter limitations on appeals and the dismissal of injunctions from the European Court of Human Rights.

The proposed amendments face imminent failure in the upcoming vote next Tuesday (16) as they are unlikely to garner sufficient backing from Labour MPs, necessary to overturn the government’s majority.

However, their numbers could jeopardise the bill’s passage in later stages, potentially challenging Sunak’s slim parliamentary majority if they unite with Labour MPs opposing the Rwanda policy.

Former migration minister Robert Jenrick stressed that failing to rectify the bill could lead to continued illegal crossings and unsustainable costs for taxpayers in managing asylum seekers.

He advocated for limited appeal options, particularly for cases involving pregnant women and individuals unfit for travel, to deter unlawful migration.

However, internal divisions within the Conservative party intensify as more liberal One Nation Tory MPs raise concerns about further tightening the bill, emphasising the delicate balance between policy strictness and compliance with international law.

Downing Street have previously called the bill “the toughest legislation ever introduced to Parliament” and says it “makes clear that this Parliament, not any foreign court, is sovereign.”

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