Tory MP Threatens To Vote Against Migrant Plans Over Concerns For Children

Moderate Tory MPs are threatening to vote against the government.
Rishi Sunak and migrants landing on the coast
Rishi Sunak and migrants landing on the coast

A former minister has threatened to vote against the government over its controversial immigration bill.

Stephen Hammond is among a number of moderate Tory MPs who have concerns about Rishi Sunak’s Illegal Migration Bill.

The Tory MP for Wimbledon said he wants to ensure the government is making sure that children will be “properly looked after”.

The bill has proved hugely controversial with critics who warn it leaves the UK foul of its international obligations.

Right-wing Tories argue it does not go far enough while their more centrist colleagues want Sunak to commit to establishing safe routes for asylum seekers.

The bill is aimed at changing the law to make it clear people arriving in the UK illegally will not be able to remain in the country.

They will either be sent back to their home country or to a nation like Rwanda with which the UK has a deal, although legal challenges mean no flights carrying migrants have taken off for Kigali.

Sunak has previously said children seeking asylum in the UK need to be detained otherwise there would be incentive for more to be brought to the country.

Hammond told GB News he is keen to work with his party but would go against Sunak and home secretary Suella Braverman if required.

“I don’t think there’s anyone who’s really against the principle of stopping illegal immigration,” he said.

“I want to ensure the government is making adequate provision for under 18 year olds in terms of making sure they’re properly looked after, and that we recognise that they are more vulnerable than others.

“I’m aware that two of my colleagues have been talking to the government fairly heavily.

“But I think it’s really important that we maintain our reputation that if you are under threat from persecution because of your religious, political, sexual orientation or whatever that the UK will offer you a home.”

Pressed on how he might vote when the bill is expected to return to Parliament next week, he added: “I am clear that I want to see the government accept some amendments next week and if I don’t get that, I am prepared for the first time, for a very long time to vote against the government on those.”

The prime minister has reportedly caved to Tory rebels and agreed to amend the Bill so ministers can ignore European judges.

Conservative backbenchers said they reached a deal with Sunak to change new rules to remove migrants arriving on small boats after threatening to revolt over the legislation.

However, the move has sparked a fierce backlash from experts who say it will undermine the rule of law.

Human rights group Liberty described the move as “pathetic political chess playing”, adding: “This shockingly cruel and shameful move will allow the government to knowingly commit human rights abuses and put people in harm’s way.”

Among the measures reportedly agreed is a plan to give the home secretary powers to disregard injunctions from the European Court of Human Rights – so-called Rule 39 orders.

Playbook reported that Home Office is expected to support a bid from 15 Tory moderates, led by Tim Loughton, to open up safe and legal routes for migrants to come to the UK.


What's Hot