Sunak’s Rwanda Bill Survives Second Reading, But Right-Wing Ultimatum Looms

Rishi on the Brink: Rwanda Bill Passes Second Reading, But Rebellion Looms

A Close Call:

Rishi Sunak narrowly averted a Tory mutiny over his controversial Rwanda deportation scheme, securing a second reading win with a slim majority.

However, the battle is far from over, as right-wingers threaten to “kill” the legislation in the New Year unless their demands for tougher measures are met.

Arm-Twisting and Arithmetic:

The Prime Minister and his whips spent the day frantically lobbying MPs to back the bill.

The vote ultimately passed with 313 for and 269 against, but the 44-strong majority masks the deep divisions within the party.

The Right’s Demands:

Right-wing rebels, led by the European Research Group (ERG), abstained from the vote, making clear their dissatisfaction with the current version of the bill.

They want tougher measures, including barring all legal appeals for asylum seekers sent to Rwanda.

Moderation Wins (For Now):

Despite the looming threat of rebellion, moderate One Nation Conservatives welcomed the result.

They see the bill as a necessary step to curb illegal Channel crossings, even if they have reservations about some of its provisions.

The Stakes Don’t Get Higher:

A defeat on this flagship policy could have been fatal for Sunak, potentially triggering a leadership challenge or even a general election.

However, the victory, while narrow, buys him some time to navigate the treacherous waters of parliamentary approval.

Other Developments:

  • Climate minister forced to make a 7,000-mile carbon footprint-heavy round trip to vote.
  • Home Office insists Rwanda is safe despite Supreme Court concerns.
  • Labour claims the cost of the scheme could balloon to £400 million.
  • Former Lord Chief Justice calls for stricter asylum laws.
  • Apparent suicide of asylum seeker adds pressure on ministers.

The Road Ahead:

  • Sunak faces an uphill battle to amend the bill to satisfy both the right and the moderates.
  • Right-wingers threaten to vote against the bill at third reading if their demands are not met.
  • Labour vows to scrap the scheme altogether, regardless of its effectiveness.
  • The fate of the Rwanda policy, and potentially Sunak’s premiership, hangs in the balance.

The Five Families of Tory Rebels:

  • The New Conservatives: A right-wing group pushing for tougher immigration policies and traditional family values.
  • European Research Group: Brexiteer veterans who have been thorns in the side of successive governments.
  • Common Sense Group: Another right-wing faction focused on issues like border security.
  • One Nation Caucus: Moderate Conservatives who have concerns about the bill’s human rights implications.
  • Northern Research Group: Representing Conservative seats in the north of England, where immigration is a key issue.

Sunak’s Balancing Act:

The Prime Minister must find a way to appease both the right and the moderates within his party, while also facing opposition from Labour and potential legal challenges.

The future of the Rwanda scheme, and his own political career, hang precariously in the balance.

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