The plan of Rishi Sunak to transport asylum seekers to Rwanda by next spring is uncertain. Opposition parties and certain Conservative peers have promised to attempt to prevent the emergency legislation designed to save the plan.
The prime minister faced another setback as Suella Braverman, the home secretary who was sacked by Sunak on Monday, rejected his proposals as implausible. She presented her own competing plan to ensure that deportations commence promptly.
The government will present a proposed law to the parliament on the Monday following next week’s autumn statement. This bill is expected to officially declare Rwanda as a secure nation for handling asylum requests, despite the supreme court’s decision on Wednesday.
On Monday, Downing Street will release a proposed agreement with Rwanda that aims to ensure asylum seekers are treated fairly when sent there.
The government intends to expedite the bill’s passage through both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. However, its swift advancement will rely on collaboration from opposing parties. Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and SNP are all predicted to resist the suggestion.
Although the Conservatives have a functional majority of 56 in the House of Commons, there may be challenges in the House of Lords as opposition peers could team up with concerned Conservative members. This is due to both the policy itself and the attempt to quickly pass a law that would reverse a ruling made by the supreme court.
One member of the Conservative party stated that this will likely be stopped or delayed. They do not believe many Conservatives will vote against it, but many may choose not to participate. The party leaders have already exhausted a significant amount of support.
A different member of the Conservative party expressed their belief that this legislation will be highly unpopular. It is not just the topic at hand, but also the lack of proper examination that is concerning. Many individuals will make every effort to oppose it.
Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, declined to echo Sunak’s goal of having flights depart by spring during his speech on Thursday. He stated that this cannot be guaranteed as it requires passing legislation in the House of Commons and signing a new international treaty with Rwanda.
If there are any delays to the bill, Sunak would face a lot of pressure from the already unsettled right-wing Conservatives. They want the prime minister to take more extreme measures.
Several Conservative Members of Parliament, believed to be at least twelve, have reportedly sent a joint letter to Sunak urging for the addition of a “notwithstanding clause” in the emergency legislation. This clause would grant the government the power to disregard any decisions made based on the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
In a piece for the Daily Telegraph, Braverman supported this notion, stating that Sunak should be prepared to disregard both the ECHR and the UN refugee convention. She called for parliament to convene during the Christmas holiday in order to pass the required legislation within the deadline.
Rewording: The concept of the UK completely exiting the ECHR, as well as any strategies related to it, would be deemed unacceptable by more moderate Tories within the party. This could potentially include individuals such as James Cleverly, the home secretary, and David Cameron, the newly appointed foreign secretary.
Formerly the chancellor and a trusted political partner of Cameron, George Osborne stated on Thursday that Cameron’s return to government decreases the likelihood of pulling out of the ECHR and challenging Labour in the upcoming election. In an interview with the Political Currency podcast, Osborne noted that Cameron’s new position as foreign secretary makes this option less feasible.
The spokesperson for Sunak stated that No 10 believes the legislation and treaty are the most efficient means of getting asylum flights operational by preventing legal challenges. Downing Street claims that the legislation will prevent “systemic” challenges, such as judicial reviews, but it is uncertain if individuals facing deportation can still bring a case to court.
According to a statement from his spokesperson, Sunak will encourage members of Parliament and the House of Lords to support the legislation as it aligns with the desires of the electorate. “We are confident that we are taking action in accordance with the wishes of the people, and we trust that parliament will honor that, while also being able to examine the specifics,” they stated.
When questioned about the proof that the government could provide to demonstrate that the public supported the flights taking off, he stated, “In my opinion, the Rwanda migration partnership is still a priority for the public and they expect us to fulfill it.”