Rishi Sunak Survives Tory Rebellion To Win Crunch Vote On Rwanda Bill

MPs voted by 313 to 269 in favour of the controversial legislation.
Rishi Sunak has staked his political authority on the bill.
Rishi Sunak has staked his political authority on the bill.
JAMES MANNING via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has survived a Tory rebellion to win a crunch Commons vote on his flagship Rwanda bill.

MPs backed the controversial legislation at second reading by 313 to 269 following a day of drama at Westminster.

But 43 Tory MPs did not vote vote for it, demonstrating the level of Conservative dissatisfaction with the legislation.

Among those who abstained were the right-wingers who Sunak invited to breakfast in Downing Street this morning to try to persuade them to vote for it.

The prime minister has staked his political authority on passing the Safety of Rwanda Bill, which he says is crucial to achieving his aim of stopping small boats carrying asylum seekers across the Channel from France.

He will face tougher parliamentary battles in the New Year as those right-wing MPs try to amend the legislation to give ministers the power to ignore court rulings on immigration cases.

But if they manage to do so, that would then trigger a major rebellion from dozens of moderate Conservatives, which could be enough to defeat the bill and potentially end Sunak’s premiership.

In a sign of Downing Street’s nervousness over tonight’s vote, net zero minister Graham Stuart was ordered to fly back from the COP28 climate summit to take part in the vote.

He will now fly back again for the conclusion of the gathering - a round trip of 6,800 miles.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, following the vote, Sunak said: “The British people should decide who gets to come to this country – not criminal gangs or foreign courts. That’s what this bill delivers.

“We will now work to make it law so that we can get flights going to Rwanda and stop the boats.”


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