Rishi Sunak deploys Whitehall officials to Rwanda as Tory revolt grows

Mr Sunak’s plan to block legal challenges to his Rwanda policy through a Bill declaring the country safe has been met with derision in some quarters. The former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption called it “discreditable” and suggested it was akin to saying “black is white”.

However, the government source said: “When people like Jonathan Sumption not unreasonably say Parliament can’t declare black to be white, what they’re not appreciating is that there’s actually been a year of additional work already with the government of Rwanda to improve their processes, that we are committed to going further than that, and that the treaty will itself fundamentally change the nature of the way people are looked after in Rwanda.”

A second government source pointed out that some Home Office officials were already on the ground in Rwanda working on the new treaty.

The new Home Secretary James Cleverly said ministers were “prepared” for the Supreme Court ruling.

“We have been working on a new treaty with Rwanda, which will be ratified without delay,” he said. “It will guarantee in law that those who are relocated from the UK to Rwanda will be protected against removal from Rwanda.”

‘Deterrent effect’

The Home Secretary said that illegal migration was “immoral” as well as “unfair”, and claimed the Rwanda scheme was not a waste of time or money because it is already having a deterrent effect on would-be migrants.

However, Mr Sunak is facing mounting criticism from Tory MPs that his policy does not go far enough.

Critics want Mr Sunak to toughen his Bill through the insertion of “notwithstanding” clauses that would disapply the Human Rights Act, the European Convention on Human Rights and other international agreements – an approach advocated by Mrs Braverman.

The immigration minister Robert Jenrick has met with concerned MPs and is understood to be pushing for a more expansive approach to the Bill.

The veteran MP Sir Bill Cash said: “If you don’t deal with the problems of the judgment comprehensively and use clear and unambiguous language in the emergency legislation, then we are going to be drawn into another problem with the courts.”

If the Government does not voluntarily strengthen the legislation it is believed that upwards of 40 MPs could rebel.

A Tory MP said: “If they bring forward legislation which doesn’t pass muster, like-minded people will try to amend it to make it stronger… I don’t think they comprehend the gravity of the disillusionment.”

The Prime Minister’s response to the Supreme Court defeat has increased the rancour in the parliamentary party, with some MPs suggesting that Mr Sunak could even face a leadership challenge.


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