Rwanda bill live: Sunak’s immigration agenda to face Tory rebels in key vote

Robert Jenrick resigns as immigration minister over Rwanda bill in huge blow to Rishi Sunak

Senior Conservatives have urged their fellow Tory MPs to stop plotting against Rishi Sunak and back his Rwanda plan in a Commons vote this week which could deal a major blow to his premiership.

With the crucial vote hanging on a margin of 28 ballots, dozens of hardline Tories could be swayed by a so-called “star chamber” of lawyers, who gave their damning verdict on Sunday that Mr Sunak’s last-ditch legislation to get planes to Rwanda – following his Supreme Court defeat – is “not fit for purpose”.

Ex-Brexit minister David Davis accused Tory colleagues of exacerbating the crisis to boost their own leadership profiles, warning that those “who trade off their own future against the future of the party always lose”, while Iain Duncan Smith urged his party to “stop shouting and just literally discuss these things in a reasonable way”.

Some Tory MPs – described as “mad or malicious or both” by moderate Damian Green – were even reported to be planning an “Advent calendar of s***” for Mr Sunak and plotting the return of Boris Johnson on a “dream ticket” leadership bid with Nigel Farage.

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Tory ‘star chamber’ will publish verdict on Sunak’s Rwanda plan at 1pm

The Tory ‘star chamber’ – a group of lawyers employed by the right-wing of the party – will publish its verdict on Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda plan at 1pm.

Conservative MP Mark Francois confirmed the timings with GB News this morning. He told the broadcaster: “There will be discussions all day and probably into tomorrow about how to vote” at the second reading of the Rwanda Bill.

“I have learned form past experience never to predict that way in advance.”

Joe Middleton11 December 2023 10:12

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Video: Nigel Farage boasts I’m A Celebrity is ‘biggest paycheck I’ve had’

Nigel Farage boasts I’m A Celebrity is ‘biggest paycheck I’ve had’

Joe Middleton11 December 2023 10:00

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The questions Rishi Sunak will face at the Covid inquiry

Were they really ‘following the science’ in Downing Street during the pandemic? Sean O’Grady looks at what the inquiry lawyers will have in store for the prime minister

Joe Middleton11 December 2023 09:54

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‘Never say never’: Nigel Farage hints at return to frontline politics after jungle exit

Nigel Farage has made his latest hint at a return to frontline politics, declaring: “Never say never.”

After placing third on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, the former UKIP leader launched a stinging attack on the Conservatives and Labour.

He has been expected to use his appearance on the ITV show in a bid to mount a political comeback, having stepped back from the head of the Reform UK party in 2021.

Joe Middleton11 December 2023 09:39

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Sunak ‘saved the economy’ during the pandemic, claims Shapps

Rishi Sunak “saved the economy” and provided “huge amounts of support” during the pandemic, cabinet minister Grant Shapps has said.

As the prime minister prepares to give evidence to the Covid inquiry this morning, the defence secretary said: “It’s so easy in hindsight to look at all these things with 20/20 vision and say ‘Ah, if only you had done X at Y moment in time’.

“The fact of the matter is Rishi Sunak, during Covid, saved millions of jobs in this country through the furlough programme and saved millions of businesses as well, with huge amounts of support – over £400 billion.”

Mr Shapps told GB News: “I think we should actually remember that he was the guy who saved the economy, an economy which – against all the expectations previously – has actually grown this year as a result of the decisions he made not to allow businesses and jobs to go.”

Joe Middleton11 December 2023 09:33

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Gary Lineker suggests Tory MP may be illiterate in asylum row

The row over Gary Lineker’s support for a “fair” plan for refugees in Britain has descended into a war of words between the football pundit and a Tory MP.

Outspoken right-winger Jonathan Gullis became the latest Conservative to attack the former England star, accusing him of “yet another breach” of the BBC’s rules on political impartiality.

“Sadly, spineless [BBC director general] Tim Davie will do nothing about it, having surrendered to Lineker previously,” Mr Gullis added.

Mr Lineker hit back by suggesting that the Stoke-on-Trent MP may be illiterate. The Match of the Day presenter said: “Jonathan hasn’t read the new guidelines….or, should I say, had someone read them to him?”

Joe Middleton11 December 2023 09:26

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‘Lives are more important than money’: Rishi Sunak heckled as he arrives at Covid inquiry

Prime minister Rishi Sunak was heckled as he arrived to give evidence at the Covid inquiry in central London.

Protesters shouted “lives are more important than money” as he became the latest politician to turn up to give evidence and justify the decisions he made as chancellor during the pandemic.

He is expected to face robust questioning over his now infamous Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

(PA)

Joe Middleton11 December 2023 09:10

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Shapps refuses to answer if Tory MPs would lose party whip if they vote against Sunak’s Rwanda plan

Grant Shapps refused to answer if Tory MPs would lose the party whip if they voted against Rishi Sunak’s flagship Rwanda plan.

He was asked by a BBC presenter: “If a Conservative MP was to vote against the Government would they lose the party whip?”

Mr Shapps responded: “You’ll have to act the whips about the way that would operate…I don’t have the parliamentary maths, what I do know is that this legislation is very important.

“The second reading, which happens this week, is essentially saying we want to actually tackle this problem and we invite all parliamentarians to vote for it. I’ve been dealing with two wars, I’m afraid I haven’t had my head in parliamentary numbers.”

Joe Middleton11 December 2023 08:55

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‘Dr Death’ Rishi Sunak to be grilled over Eat Out to Help out and missing WhatsApps

Rishi Sunak’s allies believe the Covid inquiry has already decided his Eat Out to Help Out scheme was harmful, it is claimed.

The prime minister, who was chancellor during the pandemic, will be grilled over the hospitality scheme from 10.30am by the probe’s lead counsel Hugo Keith KC.

Mr Sunak will also face questions over whether he opposed measures to contain the virus and his failure to hand over WhatsApp messages from his time as chancellor to the inquiry.

Archie Mitchell reports on the prime minister’s imminent appearance at the Covid inquiry:

Joe Middleton11 December 2023 08:39

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Gary Lineker told to stick to football after call to scrap Rwanda scheme

Holly Evans11 December 2023 08:14

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