British PM Sunak facing major rebellion over Rwanda legislation

Sunak has made stopping the arrival of asylum seekers crossing from France to Britain on small boats a central aim of his government.

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British PM Sunak facing major rebellion over Rwanda legislation
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain

British Prime Minister,  Rishi Sunak is facing a major rebellion from right-wing politicians in his party over flagship immigration legislation to speed up the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

This is a critical test of Sunak’s authority.

Two Conservative Party chairmen said they were ready to defy Sunak to join the rebellion by voting to toughen the legislation before parliamentary votes on the plan on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Sunak’s party is deeply divided over the bill, which aims to block asylum seekers bringing further court challenges against their deportations.

Some Conservative lawmakers said it goes too far and others that it does not go far enough.

Unless the legislation is changed, some Conservatives are threatening to vote against the government at its final parliamentary stage in the House of Commons, the lower house of parliament, which could take place on Wednesday.

One senior lawmaker said the rebels had the numbers to defeat Sunak in the final vote on the Rwanda legislation.

“There is zero purpose in putting in place a piece of legislation that doesn’t work,” he said.

He added that the rebels only needed half of those who backed the amendments to defeat against the government in the final vote.

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Sunak has made stopping the arrival of asylum seekers crossing from France to Britain on small boats a central aim of his government.

Most of those arriving in the boats say they are fleeing wars and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

However the British government said about 90 per cent making the journey are men and many of them economic migrants rather than genuine refugees.

Isaac Levido, the Conservative Party’s election strategist, told lawmakers at a closed-doors meeting late on Monday the party faced defeat at this year’s national election unless they ended their infighting.

“Let me be clear. Divided parties fail,” Levido said, according to a Conservative official.

Conservative Party Deputy Chairmen Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith said they would vote to toughen the legislation.

Asked if this means he would be sacked, Brendan Clarke-Smith said: “It is not for me to decide.”