Rishi Sunak survives another day as Tory rebels back the controversial Rwanda bill.

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Rishi Sunak has called a press conference where he said: “The House of Commons has spoken: the Conservative party has come together – the Rwanda bill has passed.

“It’s now time for the Lords to pass this bill too. This is an urgent national priority; the treaty of Rwanda is signed and the legislation that deem Rwanda a safe country has passed unamended in our elected chamber.”

(Rishi Sunak Press Conference)

This comes after the government achieved a comfortable win in the third reading of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and illegal migration) bill.

After days of debates and proposed amendments, it looked like the bill could be voted down.

Between 60-70 Tory rebels backed various amendments to ‘strengthen’ the bill, including Robert Jenrick’s amendment 23 aimed to block the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) from imposing a Rule 39.

Rule 39 of the ECHR allows the courts to indicate interim measures to members of the convention- it was this Rule that prevented the take off the Rwanda back in 2022.

(GB News Twitter)

He argued that voting for these amendments was the ‘last opportunity’ to get the ‘flawed’ policy correct. 

The former immigration minister said that rule would stifle the government’s ability to send planes to Rwanda, stating: “We have the power to fix this and we have the responsibility.

“So, let’s use the opportunity we have today with the amendment that we have brought forward to resolve this.

“Or else we will be here in two months’ time. The Strasbourg court will impose a Rule 39, the Government will be scrambling around how to resolve this, and then the Government will have no-one else to blame.”

Jenrick resigned as immigration minister last year over the effectiveness of this bill and has now been joined by two deputy chairmen of the Vonservative party, Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith, who resigned on Tuesday night to vote against the Government.

(Lee Anderson Twitter)

Despite fears the government could lose, only 11 conservatives voted against the bill, with most of the rebels backing the legislation– it was passed with a majority of 44.

However, Rishi’s Premiership is still on the knife edge, according to Sky News political editor Beth Rigby who says several no confidence letters have been submitted.

The next battle for the Prime Minister is the House of Lords, which is expected to send the bill back to the commons with amendments that may ‘water down’ it.

In a report by the House of Lords International Agreements Committee published yesterday they state: “We recommend that the treaty is not ratified until Parliament is satisfied that the protections it provides have been fully implemented since Parliament is being asked to make a judgement, based on the treaty, about whether Rwanda is safe.”

Rishi Sunak has won the battle, but the question of whether he can win the war looms large over his head.

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