Up to 40 Tory MPs ‘set to rebel’ if Sunak’s Rwanda plan doesn’t override ECHR

up to 40 tory mps ‘set to rebel’ if sunak’s rwanda plan doesn’t override echr

Asylum seekers travel in an inflatable boat across the English Channel, bound for Dover on the south coast of England (Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP)

Up to 40 Conservative MPs are poised to rebel over Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda deportation policy as they question ministers’ commitment to the scheme.

A major row is brewing over whether planned emergency legislation will give ministers the power to override the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) so deportation flights cannot be blocked by the Strasbourg court.

One Tory insider told i that between 20 and 40 MPs could rebel in an attempt to insert provisions to ignore the ECHR into the legislation because they believe the policy will continue to be stalled without them.

The warning came amid rising Tory anger over the Government’s commitment to the scheme after new Home Secretary James Cleverly insisted it was not the “be all and end all” of Mr Sunak’s plan to “stop the boats” crossing the Channel in an interview at the weekend.

Mr Cleverly also warned of the dangers of quitting the ECHR, suggesting to do so could jeopardise “key” asylum cooperation with other countries. He also appeared to take aim at Tories for whom it is a touchstone issue accusing them of in the interview of jumping “to their preferred solution” and holding it “really, really tightly”.

i understands that the Home Secretary is conscious that taking provisions to override the ECHR on asylum could have the same diplomatic impact as quitting ECHR entirely.

He is also said to be listening to counter arguments, however, that so-called “notwithstanding” clauses to overrule Strasbourg may be the only option of taking the Rwanda plan forward.

The Home Secretary attempted to reaffirm his commitment to the Rwanda scheme in the Commons, telling MPs that it was a “key element” of tackling the Channel small boats crisis.

But the Tory insider warned that Mr Sunak was likely to face a rebellion because MPs are losing faith in the Government’s commitment to the Rwanda scheme in the wake of Mr Cleverly’s comments at the weekend. As a result ministers are unlikely to be able to strike compromises as they did to head off rebellions on the Illegal Migration Act.

“They can’t do a deal because no one on the right believes any of them,” the insider said.

“The [the Government] are soft pedalling on Rwanda in recent days because they don’t really know where they are going.”

In the Commons on Monday, Tory MP James Morris highlighted Mr Cleverly’s comments and questioned: “What is the Government’s policy in relation to combating of boats and resisting illegal migration and what is our policy?”

Other Tory MPs meanwhile insisted the Government had to quit the ECHR or the Rwanda scheme would fail.

Ex-Cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke said it was “imperative” to get the Rwanda scheme up and running to disincentivise people smugglers running small boats across the Channel, adding that it was his “profound conviction that disapplication of the ECHR and elements of the Refugee Convention will be necessary”.

Outside the chamber, he added on X: “The time for words is over.”

The Prime Minister promised a new treaty with Rwanda and emergency laws to save the policy after it was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court earlier this month.

He hopes to seal the treaty as soon as this week, believing disagreements with Kigali over the shape of any deal can be overcome, and may publish the legislation alongside it.

News Related


World Darts Championship draw throws up tricky tests for big names

Michael Smith will begin the defence of his world title on the opening night (Picture: Getty Images) The 2024 World Darts Championship is less than three weeks away and the ... Read more »

Pioneering flight to use repurposed cooking oil to cross Atlantic

For the first time a long haul commercial aircraft is flying across the Atlantic using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). A long haul commercial flight is flying to the US ... Read more »

King meets world business and finance figures at Buckingham Palace

The King has met business and finance leaders from across the world at a Buckingham Palace reception to mark the conclusion of the UK’s Global Investment Summit. Charles was introduced ... Read more »

What Lou Holtz thinks of Ohio State's loss to Michigan: 'They aren't real happy'

After Ohio State’s 30-24 loss to Michigan Saturday, many college football fans were wondering where Lou Holtz was. In his postgame interview after the Buckeyes beat Notre Dame 17-14 in ... Read more »

Darius Slay wouldn't have minded being penalized on controversial no-call

Darius Slay wouldn’t have minded being penalized on controversial no-call No matter which team you were rooting for on Sunday, we can all agree that the officiating job performed by ... Read more »

Mac Jones discusses Patriots future after latest benching

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) Quarterback Mac Jones remains committed to finding success with the New England Patriots even though his future is up in the air following ... Read more »

Big blob of hot water in Pacific may be making El Niño act weirdly

A weird blob of warm water has appeared in the western Pacific and could affect the weather across North America this winter. (Image credit: Climate.gov/NNVL) A weird blob of warm ... Read more »
Top List in the World