Sunak needs his Rwanda Bill to deliver - but Braverman warns it simply WON'T stop the boats

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman voted against Rishi Sunak's Rwanda Bill.

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman voted against Rishi Sunak's Rwanda Bill.

Michael  Heaver

By Michael Heaver

Published: 18/01/2024

- 15:58

In this GB News members-only article, Community Editor Michael Heaver assesses the situation after MPs voted to back Rishi Sunak's Rwanda Bill

Well the Prime Minister won and got his way. Now the pressure really is on for his plan to actually deliver.

Despite significant opposition from many Conservative MPs worried that the Prime Minister's Rwanda Bill won't actually stop the boats, the rebellion soon melted away.

The context to this is that illegal immigration from France has continued. In 2024, just as in the years before, the boats have kept coming.

An amendment put forward by Sir Bill Cash was backed by 60 Conservative MPs, whilst a similar number backed an attempt by former Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick to prevent large scale individual challenges against deportations to Rwanda.

These amendments were defeated heavily though, opposed not just by the government but by Labour and others as well.

By yesterday evening, very few Tory MPs were actually prepared to vote down Rishi Sunak's unamended Rwanda Bill.

Perhaps they were worried that doing so would bring down the government and trigger an early election, which polls currently indicate would mean scores of Conservatives losing their seats.

In the end whilst other Conservatives weighed in and backed the legislation - or abstained like Lee Anderson - just 11 Tory rebels actually rejected the Bill.

They were Sir Bill Cash, Robert Jenrick, David Jones, Miriam Cates, Andrea Jenkyns, Sir Simon Clarke, Sarah Dines, Sir James Duddridge, Mark Francois, Danny Kruger and Suella Braverman.

Though small in number, it is pretty symbolic that both the former Home Secretary and former Immigration Minister - in Braverman and Jenrick - actually voted against Sunak's flagship plan.

Following the vote, Braverman gave her brutal assessment: "The Rwanda Bill will not stop the boats.

"It leaves us exposed to litigation and the Strasbourg Court.

"I engaged with the government to fix it but no changes were made. I could not vote for yet another law destined to fail.

"The British people deserve honesty and so I voted against."

This week also saw Jenrick highlight research that voters are demanding tougher action than Sunak is pursuing: "In the most authoritative polling on immigration ever the country speaks with one unambiguous voice: strengthen the Rwanda Bill.

"In 362 of 365 seats Conservatives won in 2019, the public demand the more robust approach."

Instead the Conservative Government have put their faith in this flagship piece of legislation, with the Prime Minister having pledged that it is tough enough and that it will help to stop the boats.

Yet the prospect of a Rwanda Bill that doesn't actually result in significant numbers of people being sent to Rwanda nor being effective in stopping the boats now hangs over the government.

Rishi Sunak has pledged his Bill will work. Now his premiership - and his party's prospects at the next election - hinge on whether it actually works once implemented or not.

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