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Suella Braverman threatens to help destroy Rwanda plan unless Sunak changes bill

Rishi Sunak is facing a major rebellion on his Rwanda bill in parliament next week as 54 Conservatives back rebel amendment

Zoe Grunewald
Friday 12 January 2024 15:20 GMT
Suella Braverman threatens to vote down Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda legislation

Suella Braverman has threatened to vote against Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda Bill next week unless he commits to toughening up the flagship legislation.

The former home secretary issued the warming to the PM this afternoon, claiming the current version of the much-maligned Bill does not work and that if there were no improvements she would oppose it in the Commons.

She told GB news that the British people are “fed up with the boats” and “fed up with broken promises” and that this is the “last chance” for the government to get it right.

She said: “What my objective is, is to deliver a bill that works. And it’s far better to defeat this bill, because it doesn’t work, and start again with a new bill that will work than proceed on a false premise, than proceed on a basis that amounts to something that won’t stop the boats.

Robert Jenrick has tabled an amendment to Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda Bill which has over 50 Conservative backers (PA Media)

“We may all feel a temporary sense of achievement by passing a bill but in a few months time when we see that plane grounded on the tarmac, when we’re failing to remove people to Rwanda, when we are clogged up in the courts - it will be very, very disappointing and people will ask us rightly, what did you do to try and avoid that catastrophe?

“That’s what I’m trying to do now. I’m trying to avoid a catastrophe of failing to deliver on this pledge.”

Braverman joins over 50 over Conservative MPs who are poised to back amendments to the legislation that will strengthen the legislation.

The amendments put forward by Braverman would attempt to argue that rule 39 orders from the European Court are not binding, meaning that ministers can direct flights to take off even if the European Court says they shouldn’t.

She said that this move would act as an “effective deterrent” to the small boats crisis.

Sunak has publicly said that he welcomes suggestions from his colleagues on how to strengthen the Rwanda plan, but the government is set to encounter a major roadblock as two opposing sides of the Conservative party are set to fundamentally disagree on major aspects of the Bill.

The Rwanda policy has thus far proved to be one of the most contentious policies of Sunak’s premiership, with his own Immigration Secretary and close ally, Robert Jenrick, resigning from his government over the bill’s proposed direction.

Jenrick is now leading on a major amendment to the Bill which would stop the European Court of Human Rights from overriding ministerial decisions.

Rival Tory factions will hash it out on Tuesday next week as the party grapples with the Rwanda plan (PA Wire)

But an opposing group of Conservative MPs - known as the One Nation Caucus - have deemed the amendments “fundamentally unconservative”, as former Cabinet minister Robert Buckland has declared publicly that the group will not back the amendments.

Braverman told GB news that the legislation in its current form was “fundamentally flawed”, so she is backing Jenrick’s amendments which she says will “dramatically reduce the ability of people to thwart their removal through the courts”.

She also warned that “dozens” of ministers have “grave reservations” about the bill and did not refute suggestions that some may resign as a result, although she acknowledged that it is a “very personal decision”.

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