David Cameron beats Conservative Immigration Bill rebellion – with the help of the Opposition

More than 80 backbenchers had demanded a tougher line on deporting foreign criminals from Britain

David Cameron has beat an embarrassing retreat in the face of a rebellion by more than 80 Tory MPs who voted against the Government on its Immigration Bill.

The Prime Minister’s authority was challenged by his own backbenchers as they demanded a tougher line on deporting foreign criminals from Britain.

Amid farcical scenes in the Commons, Mr Cameron had to rely on the votes of Labour MPs and his Liberal Democrat Coalition partners to defeat a revolt by 87 Tories, who voted to give ministers rather than judges the final decision on whether deportation would breach the human rights of foreign criminals.

The rebels, who included many of Mr Cameron’s fiercest Tory critics, pressed ahead despite warnings that their move would divert attention from a series of official statistics showing the economy is recovering.

Lord (Michael) Howard, the former Tory leader, had said before the vote: “What is needed in this stage of the parliament is a degree of self-discipline by Conservative backbenchers. It is very important, I think, that we present the Conservative Party as a united party in the run-up to the election.”

In an attempt to avoid a public split, Mr Cameron ordered Tory ministers to abstain – even though they admitted that the backbench plan could be illegal under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Senior Tories admitted privately that the outcome was “chaotic” and “messy.” But allies of Mr Cameron said there was little point in a showdown with the rebels because he was “sympathetic” to the objectives of Dominic Raab, the MP who proposed an amendment to the Immigration Bill. Ministers hope a compromise plan to reflect his wishes will be drawn up during the Bill’s passage through the House of Lords.

Mr Raab said foreign criminals were using the ECHR as the “joker” to escape deportation. More than 200 successfully challenge deportation on human rights grounds each year, and about 90 per cent cite the “right to private and family life” under Article 8 of the convention.

His proposal was defeated by 241 votes to 97, a government majority of 144. The 87 Tory rebels were joined by 10 Labour MPs and two members of the Democratic Unionist Party.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, called the Bill a “car crash” and accused Mr Cameron and Theresa May, the Home Secretary, of being “scared” of their own backbenchers and “losing control” of their own policy.

She told the Commons: “This was the pride and joy of their legislation and yet they have been hiding it away for months. We have had months when the Immigration Bill was nowhere to be seen, when they wouldn’t bring it back.”

Mrs May, who has criticised the courts for upholding too many appeals against deportation, said it was correct to clarify the extent of the right. She argued that there were aspects of Mr Raab’s amendment that could “weaken our ability” to deport criminals and were “incompatible” with human rights law. Ministers feared it could open the door to legal challenges.

A controversial last-minute move by the Home Secretary to strip foreign-born terrorist suspects of UK citizenship was approved by 297 votes to 34, even though it could leave them “stateless”. Ministers had hoped the plan would quell the Tory revolt but the rebels stuck to their guns.

Mrs May hit back at claims by Sarah Teather, the Liberal Democrat MP, that she was seeking a “blank cheque” to rob citizens of their rights, arguing that home secretaries would be able to render someone stateless only in “very, very specific and limited circumstances” and in strict accordance with the UK’s international obligations.

Ministers insist the move would not apply to British citizens but could see foreigners who have become naturalised citizens lose their nationality if their conduct is judged “seriously prejudicial.” People holding dual nationality can already lose their British passports.

Tim Aker, head of policy at the UK Independence Party, said Mr Cameron had “lost the plot”, adding that the only solution was to “leave the EU and leave the ECHR to take back control of these legal issues”.

Voices
voices
Life and Style
Upright, everything’s all right (to a point): remaining on one’s feet has its health benefits – though in moderation
HealthIf sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode
arts + ents
Sport
Laura Trott with her gold
Commonwealth GamesJust 48 hours earlier cyclist was under the care of a doctor
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman
arts + entsFilmmaker posted a picture of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on Twitter
News
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel
arts + entsPrince Oberyn nearly sets himself on fire with a flaming torch
News
Danny Nickerson, 6, has received 15,000 cards and presents from well-wishers around the world
newsDanny loves to see his name on paper, so his mother put out a request for cards - it went viral
Sport
France striker Loic Remy
sportThe QPR striker flew to Boston earlier in the week to complete deal
News
Orville and Keith Harris. He covered up his condition by getting people to read out scripts to him
People
Arts and Entertainment
Zoe Saldana stars in this summer's big hope Guardians of the Galaxy
filmHollywood's summer blockbusters are no longer money-spinners
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Life and Style
Workers in Seattle are paid 100 times as much as workers in Bangladesh
fashionSeattle company lets customers create their own clothes, then click 'buy' and wait for delivery
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Analyst

£30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable software house is looking ...

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Commercial Litigation

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried