Rishi Sunak has dodged questions over whether he will call a general election if he loses a crunch vote on his Rwanda bill next week – which he insisted was not a vote of confidence in his leadership.
Mr Sunak convened the news conference just hours after Robert Jenrick quit his post as immigration minister over the Rwanda bill, which he said “doesn’t go far enough” and was a “triumph of hope over experience”.
The government published its long-awaited Rwanda bill just a day after Home Secretary James Cleverly visited Rwanda to sign a new treaty that was aimed at reviving the government’s troubled plan to send asylum seekers to the African country.
The bill compels UK judges to treat the east African nation as a safe country for asylum seekers after the Supreme Court ruled the scheme unlawful on the grounds people could be returned to their home countries and face harm, under a process known as refoulement.
The bill was designed to appease both wings of the Conservative Party – the right wing and the more moderate One Nation group – by allowing the UK to disapply aspects of the Human Rights Act but not the legislation in its entirety.
The Tory right, including Mr Jenrick and former home secretary Suella Braverman, wanted the bill to disregard the entire Human Rights Act with regard to asylum cases as well as include extra powers to dismiss challenges under the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).
Mr Sunak made clear in his response to Mr Jenrick’s resignation later that Rwanda was at risk of walking away from the agreement if the bill ignored the European Court of Human Rights in its entirety.
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This notice was published: 2023-12-07 10:21:00
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