Rishi Sunak facing crunch week on flagship Rwanda legislation

todayDecember 10, 2023 1

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Rishi Sunak facing crunch week on flagship Rwanda legislation

Rishi Sunak is waiting to see the size of revolt over his immigration plans from both wings of his party as he enters a crunch week for his premiership. 

Two major meetings on Monday – one with One Nation MPs and one with the Tory right – will determine the size of the rebellion on Tuesday over his emergency legislation, which he claims will get flights to Rwanda off the ground.

It takes 29 MPs to vote against, or 57 MP to abstain, to defeat Sunak’s flagship legislation – with no clarity whether he could survive such a defeat in practice.


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The Tory right will meet at midday on Monday, with five different groups represented and addressed by Bill Cash, while the centrist Tory MPs will gather at 6pm and could be addressed by Justice Secretary Alex Chalk.

One Nation Conservative MPs, who represent the centre of the party, insist to the Politics At Jack and Sam’s podcast that some of their group will vote against, while some on the right do not see a way of toughening the bill in a way that will become law.

Robert Jenrick, the newly hardline former immigration minister, has upped pressure on the prime minister by declaring he will not support the bill, stiffening the resistance amongst some of those on the right.

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Crunch week for Sunak’s premiership

Read more:
PM is facing a crisis sooner or later – analysis
What is the revamped Rwanda asylum plan and what hurdles does it face?

Mr Cash, who heads the “star chamber”, has already said the bill does not deliver what is needed and is offering to negotiate further with government.

Meanwhile, newer MPs in the New Conservatives, Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates, have signalled their unhappiness with the proposal for failing to go far enough.

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Can the new Rwanda policy work?

Unlike the Brexit era, there is no organised whipping operation among opponents meaning there is no way for Downing Street to know what will happen on Tuesday.

They still expect to win the first vote on the bill, but all sides are shaping up for a big battle when the legislation resurfaces early in the new year.

For full analysis, listen to Politics at Jack and Sam’s.

Written by: Newsroom

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