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Rishi Sunak in political hot water as rebellion grows over Rwanda vote

by editor

Members of Parliament prepare to vote on PM Sunak’s revised Rwanda bill, which aims to address asylum policy concerns, amidst internal dissent within the ruling Conservative Party.


In a high-stakes political maneuver, Members of Parliament are set to vote on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s revised Rwanda bill today, marking a critical moment in the ongoing debate over the UK’s asylum policy. 

This legislation comes as a response to a recent blockage by the UK Supreme Court of a prior plan, citing concerns about the potential dangers faced by asylum seekers.

The proposed law outlines a strategy where certain asylum seekers would be sent to Rwanda, albeit with the aim of ensuring their safety. 

The majority of opposition parties are expected to reject the bill, posing a challenge for Sunak, who must secure substantial support from within his own Conservative Party.

Ahead of the vote, Sunak engaged in a desperate lobbying effort, including an emergency breakfast meeting with right-wing Conservative MPs. 

The New Conservative group, a faction within the party, expressed reservations about the current form of the bill, emphasising the need for significant alterations.

If the bill faces defeat, it would mark the first time a government loses such a vote since 1986.

Last-minute support for a divisive policy

Dissent within the Conservative Party is palpable, with some right-wing MPs asserting that the bill is fundamentally flawed and does not adequately address the issues at hand. 

Concerns have grown since the weekend, and there is speculation about a potential leadership crisis if a rebellion were to occur.

While the right-wing MPs hold the power to defeat the bill, a larger rebellion from centrist MPs, particularly from the One Nation group, could materialize if the bill undergoes significant amendments. 

This group, comprising around 100 members, declared their support for the bill in its current form and urged the government to resist amendments that might compromise its integrity.

Labour’s Keir Starmer added his voice to the criticism, denouncing the policy as an “expensive gimmick” and suggesting that funds could be better utilised to combat criminal gangs facilitating illegal Channel crossings.

Illegal migration minister Michael Tomlinson confirmed that the vote would proceed, and efforts to persuade fellow Tory MPs were underway. Sunak’s Rwanda bill has become a focal point in his strategy to address Channel crossings, despite ongoing doubts about its effectiveness.

As the political drama unfolds, the fate of the Rwanda bill remains uncertain, with the potential for significant consequences both within the Conservative Party and the broader political landscape. 

The outcome of today’s vote will shape the trajectory of the UK’s asylum policy and influence the political standing of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

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