Political uprising in the UK jeopardizes PM Rishi Sunak’s authority ahead of Crunch Vote:
U.K.’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak aims to consolidate his waning authority by pushing for a vote on his contentious Rwanda immigration bill, despite mounting opposition from conservative dissenters within his own party.
Sunak has presented this policy as the “most stringent immigration law in the U.K.” to pacify dissent and garner support from hardline Tory members. However, many critics argue that the proposed measures lack robustness and are likely to encounter additional legal hurdles.
The prime minister’s initial proposal to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda was rejected last month following the Supreme Court’s ruling that deemed the African nation unsafe for those arriving in Britain via small boats.
The “Safety of Rwanda Bill,” recently presented as urgent legislation, is challenging established domestic and international laws, marking a significant aspect of the leader’s tenure. Today marks its initial evaluation in parliament, with MPs convening at 7 p.m. local time to deliberate and vote on its propositions.
Sunak, in a bid to garner backing before the vote, is actively engaging MPs through a sequence of meetings, including a breakfast summit held at Downing Street. However, he encounters resistance from within his party, grappling with concerns from both moderate factions regarding human rights breaches and opposition from the right asserting that the bill won’t effectively deter unlawful entries.
His primary goal is to ensure the participation of party members in the voting process and, more importantly, secure their affirmative votes for the bill. Nonetheless, subsequent rounds of approval, including scrutiny in the House of Lords, the appointed upper chamber, will still be requisite for the bill.
The Conservatives currently hold a working majority of 56 in the House of Commons. It would take just about 30 Conservative MPs aligning with opposition parties, who largely oppose the legislation, for it to collapse.
Insiders suggest that over 20 MPs are poised to rebel, a revelation disclosed by a Tory source to the BBC. Such a defeat would prove deeply embarrassing for Sunak, whose focus on halting boat arrivals stands as a key priority. It would also markedly erode his sway within his own party.
Sunak’s brief premiership has been plagued by political rifts, notably with the recent ousting of former Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Rebel factions challenging Sunak’s ongoing leadership cast a shadow over the looming general election, likely slated for next year.
Labor leader Keir Starmer, enjoying a lead in polls, firmly stated his intent to vote against the bill. He labeled it a “gimmick” and vowed to redirect funds towards bolstering cross-border policing to combat human trafficking rings.
Despite the government disbursing £240 million ($301 million) to Rwanda, the nation currently possesses the capacity to accommodate only a few hundred refugees, with no individuals relocated there yet.