PM Rishi Sunak says he’s ‘confident’ about Rwanda legislation
The Prime Minister has just said he is willing to speak with Tory rebels about potential amendments to his flagship Rwanda Bill.
Rishi Sunak said he has been “consistently clear” that he is willing to listen to his backbenchers about “ways the legislation can be improved to be made even more effective”.
However the PM added the catch, that any amendments to the Bill must have a respectable legal argument, and must maintain Rwanda’s participation in the scheme.
The country issued a statement following the Government’s publication of the Bill last week, warning that it would be unable to participate in the resettling scheme if the Government proposed breaching international rules.
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Right-wing Tories have said this is not correct, and want the Government to go further in ignoring more international obligations in order to close down options migrants have to appeal.
Speaking from a school, Mr Sunak said “of course we’d be open to [amendments], who wouldn’t be?”
However he argued that top lawyers have already said the Bill is hardline enough to work.
“We’re confident this is a very strong piece of legislation. Most legal experts – former judges – have all said that the legislation is incredibly strong, it is effective, it will work.
“The key thing now is to get it on the statute books so we can get the scheme up and running.”
Mr Sunak said the question is now for those trying to block the scheme, including the Labour Party, who he said don’t want to stop the boats.
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This morning it’s reported Mr Sunak also faces amendments from the Tory left, as well as right-wing caucuses like the ERG.
The One Nation group of Tory MPs now want to amend the Rwanda Bill to comply with international law even more.
Former Cabinet minister Sir Robert Buckland is said to be considering an amendment of his own to make the Bill more compatible with the ECHR.
He denied to the Guardian that such an amendment would “wreck” the Bill, saying he wants to help the PM’s plan succeed.
On the other hand, a minister told the PM that he should ‘stop pandering to the right’ of the Tory party, sparking fury.
Sir Simon Clarke shot back at the report, revealed in Bloomberg, arguing: “Nobody is asking for the PM to “pander” to anyone. We want this bill to work.
“Robert Jenrick could hardly be a more reasonable figure, or know the situation better. If he is saying the bill is deficient, people should listen.
“A number of us could not support the bill not because we are the terrible people some of our colleagues appear to wish to portray us as being, but because we don’t believe that moving forward on the basis of a 50/50 chance (the Government’s own assessment) is good enough.
“Rob is right to say a handful of flights is not the same as stopping the boats. By the same token, unity *at any price* is not the prize that some colleagues think it is (many of the same colleagues, incidentally, who were spectacularly disloyal to previous governments)
“What matters to me is results. In that sense this is every bit as much about practical politics as it is about principle. And disparaging briefing at decent Conservatives trying to serve our constituents and country will backfire spectacularly.”
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