Sunak Secures Narrow Victory on Rwanda Scheme, But Right-Wing Tories Threaten “Kill” Vote Unless Bill is Toughened

Sunak Secures Narrow Victory on Rwanda Scheme, But Right-Wing Tories Threaten “Kill” Vote Unless Bill is Toughened

Sunak Survives Tory Mutiny, but Rwanda Scheme Faces “Kill” Threat in New Year:

A tight vote:

After intense lobbying, Rishi Sunak’s flagship Rwanda deportation policy secured a 44-vote majority in parliament.

However, right-wing Tories vowed to “kill” the legislation unless it’s toughened up in the coming months.

One Nation v. ERG:

Moderates within the Conservative Party backed the bill, while the European Research Group (ERG) threatened rebellion if their demands for stricter measures aren’t met.

Damian Green of the One Nation group called it a “win,” while ERG chair Mark Francois warned of a “kill” vote if amendments aren’t passed.

Rebellion on the horizon:

Up to 29 Tory MPs abstained or stayed away, including Suella Braverman and Robert Jenrick.

This number could rise in the New Year if the bill isn’t amended to their satisfaction.

Sunak’s Desperate Measures:

Whips’ war room:

Conservative whips spent a frantic day arm-twisting MPs, with Downing Street even recalling climate minister Graham Stuart from the COP28 summit to vote.

This desperate move drew criticism for its carbon footprint.

Breakfast summit:

Sunak attempted to win over potential rebels with a breakfast meeting, but it failed to break the deadlock.

The “five families” of Tory right-wingers – including the New Conservatives and the ERG – remained unconvinced.

No ground given:

Despite the pressure, Sunak refused to concede to demands for harsher measures.

A No10 source insisted the bill is “drafted with close attention to detail” and wouldn’t be pulled.

Rwanda Scheme Costs and Concerns:

Soaring costs:

Labour claimed the Rwanda scheme’s cost could reach £400 million, further fueling concerns about its viability.

The Home Office confirmed an additional £50 million payment to Rwanda next year.

Legal challenges:

The National Audit Office will review the scheme’s costs, and individual migrants will still be able to appeal their deportation in court, potentially delaying or derailing flights.

International law concerns:

The ERG’s legal assessment deemed the bill insufficient to achieve its goals, arguing that individual claims should be banned entirely.

However, the government fears this would breach international law and collapse the partnership with Rwanda.

The Road Ahead:

Amendments or “kill” vote?

The fate of the Rwanda scheme hangs in the balance.

The government is unlikely to concede major changes, but enough Tory rebels could vote against the bill in its later stages to block it.

Sunak’s precarious position:

A defeat on this totemic policy could significantly weaken Sunak’s leadership.

He faces a monumental task in navigating the internal divisions within his party and ensuring the scheme’s survival.

Labour’s stance:

Labour remains firmly opposed to the Rwanda scheme and has promised to scrap it if elected.

Sir Keir Starmer called it a “gimmick” and urged voters to hold the government accountable.

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