Rishi Sunak Sees Off Tory Rebels As Commons Backs His Rwanda Plan

The result is a boost to the PM's hopes of finally getting deportation flights off the ground.
Rishi Sunak will be relieved after seeing off a Tory rebellion.
Rishi Sunak will be relieved after seeing off a Tory rebellion.
Leon Neal via Getty Images

MPs have backed Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda plan as a threatened Tory rebellion fizzled out.

The House of Commons voted 320 to 276 to support the Safety of Rwanda Bill, which the prime minister says will see deportation flights to the east African country finally get off the ground.

The result will come as a huge relief to the PM, who last night suffered his biggest rebellion since entering Downing Street.

Around 60 MPs defied the Tory whip to back amendments aimed at toughening up the legislation to allow ministers to ignore European court rulings and make it more difficult for asylum seekers to appeal against deportation.

However, just 11 of them voted against the entire bill this evening, handing the government a comfortable majority of 44.

They included former cabinet ministers Suella Braverman and Simon Clarke.

But Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith, who resigned as Tory deputy chairmen yesterday to back the rebel amendments, did not vote against the bill.

The bill will now go to the House of Lords, where it may be amended by opponents of the Rwanda policy, before it returns to the Commons.

That could potentially set up a fresh battle after the rebel Tories said they would then table a fresh set of amendments to toughen it up again.

Sunak hopes that once it is on the statute books, the new law will allow flights to Rwanda to take off in the spring and form a key part of his pledge to “stop the boats” carrying asylum seekers across the Channel.

However, any deportations are certain to be appealed against, teeing up yet more legal wrangling which would delay the flights once again.

Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said: Tonight is no victory for Rishi Sunak, no matter how he might try to twist it.

“Days of Conservative chaos and infighting has left the prime minister’s authority shot. He has proved again and again that he cannot lead his own party, let alone the country.”


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