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UK PM Sunak sees off rebellion over flagship Rwanda bill

UK PM Sunak sees off rebellion over flagship Rwanda bill
Courtesy: WPA Pool / Pool | Getty Images News Via Getty Images

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday succeeded in getting his flagship Rwanda bill passed in a pivotal vote in the House of Commons, despite rebellion within the Conservative Party.

The Rwanda bill is a central part of Sunak’s “stop the boats” campaign which aims to minimise immigration into the country. The bill – which has been a topic of much controversy of late – will allow the government to send asylum seekers who arrive in the UK without permission to Rwanda.

Despite the expected threat of rebellion from his own party, Sunak’s proposed legislation cleared the Commons with a total of 320 lawmakers voting for it and 276 against. Of those who decided to vote against, only 11 were from the Conservatives Party.

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“The Conservative party last night demonstrated that they are completely united in wanting to stop the boats. This bill passed with an overwhelming majority in parliament … The Conservative party is completely united in wanting to deliver for the country, cut their taxes and, crucially, to stop the boats,” said the Prime Minister at a press conference held at Number 10 Downing Street the day after the vote in Commons.

The bill has now advanced to the House of Lords, where it could potentially face further opposition and possible amendments.

“It’s now time for the Lords to pass this bill. This is an urgent national priority. The treaty with Rwanda is signed and the legislation which deems Rwanda a safe country has been passed unamended in our elected chamber. There is now only one question. Will the opposition in the appointed House of Lords try and frustrate the will of the people as expressed by the elected house? Or will they get on board and do the right thing?” added Sunak as he urged the House of Lords to pass the bill without any amendments.

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There are also worries that injunctions from the European Court of Human Rights can halt deportation of illegal immigrants to Rwanda, regarding which the UK government has earlier this week issued guidance to civil servants in the form of letters:

“As a matter of UK law, the decision as to whether to comply with a Rule 39 indication is a decision for a Minister of the Crown,” read the letter by the Home Office.

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