UK leader Sunak facing revolt over Rwanda plan

LONDON, United Kingdom, Dec 8 – The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is confronting a growing right-wing revolt in response to the government’s Rwanda plan, following the resignation of Robert Jenrick, his immigration minister, who deemed proposed legislation insufficient in addressing potential legal challenges to the controversial policy.

In his resignation letter to Sunak, Jenrick said that he “cannot continue in his position when he has disagreements with the direction of the government’s policy on immigration”.

The UK’s Home Secretary James Cleverly this week signed a new treaty with Rwanda, aimed at reviving the government’s immigration policy by addressing a court decision that had previously halted the deportation of asylum seekers to the East African nation.

Cleverly claims the new deal will effectively tackle all the concerns raised by the UK’s Supreme Court, which had deemed the contentious policy unlawful.

The Conservative Party government aims to curb the influx of unauthorized asylum-seekers crossing the English Channel seaway in small boats, with the success of the strategy reliant on the implementation of the Rwanda plan, which it claims will act as a deterrent.

In a Thursday morning news briefing, Sunak set out why he believes in his Rwanda policy, describing it as the “toughest immigration law ever” and insisting that he was committed to seeing the plan through.

But the prime minister faces a rebellion within his own party over the plan, reported The Times newspaper.

The introduction of the proposed legislation has ignited intense debate within the Conservative Party, with some members advocating for more stringent measures than the bill offers.

Previous reports suggested some ministers in Sunak’s Cabinet had pushed for the UK to exit from the European Convention on Human Rights in order to allow a harsh crackdown on irregular migration.

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“I refuse to be yet another politician who makes promises on immigration to the British public but does not keep them,” said Jenrick in his letter.”… We said that we would stop the boats altogether. That is what the public rightly demands and expects of us. We must truly mean that we will do ‘whatever it takes’ to deliver this commitment when we say so. This emergency legislation is the last opportunity to prove this, but in its current drafting it does not go far enough.”

He also criticized the draft law as being “a triumph of hope over experience”.

In an interview with the BBC on Thursday, former home secretary Suella Braverman said Sunak’s Rwanda policy will not work.

Braverman said: “There are elements that should be welcomed in this new bill that the prime minister has presented. But taken as a whole and looking at the reality of the challenges that are involved in detaining people, removing people and getting them to Rwanda — this is a very litigious field and there are lots of legal frameworks that apply — the reality is and the sorry truth is that it won’t work and it will not stop the boats.

“There is still time to change this bill, there is time to change course and I very much urge him to encourage a receptive attitude to some of the changes people are suggesting.”

But Sunak said he and critics of the bill within the Conservative Party are only “an inch” apart, and that if he makes it even tougher, Rwanda will pull out of the plan.

Opposition Labour Party member of Parliament Pat McFadden said it seems as if the government is “tearing itself apart” over the issue.

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