Rishi Sunak has been dealt a fresh blow by members of his own party, who have concluded that his Rwanda bill is not fit for purpose.

Lawyers on the Tory right have said that the legislation is not “sufficiently watertight” – meaning illegal migrants could begin prolonged legal challenges in an attempt to stay in the UK.

The European Research Group believes the law’s current wording will fail to help achieve the objective of deporting those who cross the Channel in small boats.

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Can the new Rwanda policy work?

Sir Bill Cash, who chaired the legal assessment, told The Sunday Telegraph that he hopes the report will help the government decide whether the bill needs further amendments.

Tories from both the right and the left had been awaiting the findings, with MPs set to vote on the Rwanda bill this Tuesday.

More moderate Tories are weighing up whether they can support the plans amid concerns about compelling courts to find Rwanda is a “safe” country to send asylum seekers.

Last night, Mr Sunak attacked Labour’s illegal migration policy – as Sir Keir Starmer accused the Conservatives of “fighting like rats in a sack”.

The prime minister called on Labour to “rise above political games” and back his emergency legislation, even though Mr Sunak is currently battling to keep his own MPs on side.

It comes after Robert Jenrick resigned as immigration minister on Wednesday – claiming the Rwanda bill would spark a “merry-go-round” of legal challenges because it was too weak.

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‘Why did you resign, sir?’

Meanwhile, according to The Times, the attorney general has been told that the legislation has a “50% at best” chance of getting flights off the ground next year.

On Tuesday – the day of the vote – Sir Keir Starmer will use a speech to claim the Conservatives have lost the ability to govern – and insist he “won’t let the Tories take the country down with them”.

The home secretary had travelled to Rwanda to sign a revised treaty after the original proposal was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court, which said there was a “real risk” migrants sent there would be returned home and put in danger.

Writing in The Sun on Sunday, Mr Cleverly again insisted that Rwanda is an “amazing country” that is “peaceful, safe and prosperous”.

“It is deemed safe by the UN refugee agency – and many refugees and other immigrants who have settled there, are now thriving,” he argued. “Some have also started successful businesses.”

Mr Cleverly also sought to play down concerns about the bill’s language – describing it as “the toughest immigration law ever”.

Read more:
UK paid Rwanda extra £100m for asylum deal
What has government agreed with new Rwanda deportation treaty?
Braverman urges Sunak to ‘change course’ over Rwanda bill

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New Rwanda bill: What now?

Sunak attacks the Opposition

On Saturday night, Mr Sunak sought to defend his Rwanda bill – claiming it would be a “significant step” towards securing UK borders, “thwarting the evil trade of the smuggling gangs” and stopping the “injustice of illegal migration”.

“People in this country care deeply about stopping the boats,” he said.

“A government that governs in their interest must act on these entirely legitimate concerns.”

The PM said the Opposition is “not fit to govern” because “they have no plans to tackle illegal immigration”.

He claimed illegal migration would rise under a Labour government because it would agree a “burden sharing agreement for asylum seekers with the EU” – and he accused Sir Keir of having “blocked the deportation of dangerous criminals”.

Mr Sunak added: “This week, Labour needs for once to rise above political games.

“They need for once to stop acting in their short-term interests. They need to act in the national interest.

“The Conservatives are on the public’s side – and we will push on with our plan to stop the boats.”

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‘My patience has worn thin, right?’

‘Miserable chapter of decline’

With a big lead in the polls, Sir Keir’s speech on Tuesday will pitch “fundamentally changed” Labour as a party that is ready to govern – arguing that the Tory infighting is “a cultural stain running through the modern Conservative Party”.

“While they’re all swanning around self-importantly, in their factions and their ‘star chambers’, fighting like rats in a sack, there’s a country out here that isn’t being governed,” he is expected to say.

“It is time to come together, to turn the page on this miserable chapter of decline, and walk towards a decade of national renewal,” he is set to say.

“I have dragged this Labour Party back to service, and I will do the same to British politics. I won’t let the Tories drag our country down with them. We cannot and will not let them kick the hope out of our future.”

The speech will also coincide with the four-year anniversary of the 2019 general election, which saw Boris Johnson lead the Conservatives to a huge common’s majority against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

Sir Keir will say: “You know that this is a party that has fundamentally changed. Not just a paint job, but a total overhaul. A different Labour Party, driven by your values. By British values.”



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