Sunak’s Rwanda Bill Faces Revolt: Two Senior Tories Resign Amidst Backlash
Unraveling the Conservative Rebellion
In a stunning turn of events, two deputy chairs of the Conservative party, Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith, have resigned in protest of Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda deportation bill. The duo led a rebellion of 60 Tories, dealing a severe blow to the prime minister’s authority and setting the stage for a contentious battle in the Commons.
The Amendments and Defeats
The rebellion saw 60 Conservative MPs voting in favor of changes to the bill, challenging clauses 10 and 19. The proposed amendments aimed to prevent UK and international law from impeding deportations to Rwanda and restrict asylum seekers’ appeal rights. Despite the significant support, both amendments were defeated, highlighting a growing rift within the party.
Resignations and Impact
Anderson and Clarke-Smith’s resignations underscore the depth of disagreement within the Conservative ranks. They argued for a more robust Rwanda legislation, expressing concerns that the current form may be bogged down in legal challenges, jeopardizing its effectiveness. Their departure adds to the challenges faced by Sunak, who is already grappling with dissent over the bill.
Judicial Intervention and Political Maneuvers
The resignation came on the heels of the government’s announcement to recruit 150 judges to expedite asylum appeals. However, the move faced criticism from the lady chief justice, Sue Carr, who emphasized the judiciary’s independence. As tensions rise, the government contemplates instructing civil servants to adhere to ministerial guidance, potentially bypassing court orders.
Boris Johnson’s Intervention
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson added fuel to the fire by supporting calls to toughen the Rwanda deportation bill. Johnson’s endorsement of amendments suggested a lack of consensus within the Conservative party, with key figures advocating for changes to enhance the bill’s legal robustness.
Implications and Opposition Response
The looming Commons vote on the bill’s third reading intensifies the uncertainty, with approximately a dozen Tories publicly expressing their intent to vote against it. Labour seized on the resignations, claiming that they revealed the Tories’ failure and Sunak’s leadership weakness. The Liberal Democrats joined the chorus, asserting that the Rwanda scheme is flawed and won’t achieve its intended goals.
The Road Ahead
As the political landscape becomes increasingly tumultuous, the fate of Sunak’s Rwanda bill hangs in the balance. The rebellion signifies a broader discontent within the Conservative party, raising questions about the government’s ability to navigate internal divisions and implement contentious policies.