Rishi Sunak is walking a tightrope with Tory MPs... and his latest admission of guilt is not helping - analysis by Millie Cooke

Rishi Sunak is walking a tightrope with Tory MPs... and his latest admission of guilt is not helping - analysis by Millie Cooke
Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke


Published: 16/01/2024

- 14:55

Updated: 16/01/2024

- 15:05

Sunak has used strong language to describe his commitment to the plan - but how much action will accompany his words?

In an attempt to win over warring Conservative MPs, the Prime Minister today announced that he will draft in 150 judges to fast-track any Rwanda migration appeals.

Sunak is walking a tightrope. He is reluctant to bend to the 60 MPs on the right of the party who want the bill to be toughened up, for fear that Rwanda will back out of the agreement.


But if he leaves the Bill as it is, he is facing the threat of rebellion from a rapidly growing number of MPs.

So in an attempt to avoid doing a deal with the rebels and implementing their amendments - something which could jeopardize Rwanda's involvement in the plan and alienate moderate Tory MPs - he is attempting to win them over through concessions.

That's where the 150 judges comes in.

Sunak is attempting to find a solution to the problem of deportations being held up in the courts, without going so far as to completely remove all exemptions to the legislation - something which could fall foul of international law.

But it seems to have fallen flat. Unsurprisingly, the rebels are not convinced.


Rather than being a shiny concession, it appears more to be an admission of guilt.

Tory MP Danny Kruger, leading the rebellion, told GB News: "I'm pleased that Sunak has said he'll recruit more judges to process the claims better - but I'm concerned that that would suggest that there will be lots of claims, which i think there would be under this law.

"I think we could make his life simpler by saying, 'under the law there shall be no claims'."

Robert Jenrick, who has put forward two amendments to toughen up the legislation, today told the Commons that illegal migrants arriving in the UK must be deported to Rwanda "within days, not months".

It is unlikely that Sunak's 150 judges will meet this ambitious target. Jenrick's goal of "days not months" will be impossible to achieve across the board unless every single exemption is taken off the drawing board.

But that will take a level of commitment from the prime minister that currently seems to be lacking.

Shining a light on the Prime Minister's commitment to his key pledge, Jenrick asked the Commons: "How much are we actually willing to do to stop the boats? How willing are we to take on the vested interests, balance the trade-offs, take the robust steps that will actually work?

“The only countries in the world that have fixed this problem, latterly Australia and Greece, have been willing to take the most robust action. Are we?"

Sunak has used strong language to describe his commitment to the plan. But it remains to be seen how much action will accompany his words.

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