13 JANUARY 2024 | NEWS
Suella Braverman has threatened to vote against the Government’s Rwanda Bill next week unless Prime Minister Rishi Sunak strengthens the proposed legislation.
It comes as the former Home Secretary is continuing to bolster support amongst the right wing of the Conservative Party – there have been reports that she is gearing up for the party’s leadership in the future.
Ms Braverman has been an open critic of the Prime Minister since she quit the Cabinet last November, leaving behind a scathing resignation letter attacking Mr Sunak personally for not doing enough to “stop the boats”.
Achieving this was one of Mr Sunak’s key five pledges that he committed to upon entering Downing Street, but the target has not yet been delivered and no-one has yet been deported to Rwanda.
Under the scheme, migrants entering the country illegally would be deported with no possibility of re-applying for asylum in the UK, although they could do so in Rwanda. However, the scheme has seen successful legal challenges against it, and the Supreme Court ruled in November that it was unlawful.
In her letter, Ms Braverman mentioned that she had “trusted [him]” and recalled how – from her own perspective – her personal support had been instrumental in elevating Mr Sunak to the highest office in the land.
But she went on to say that he had “manifestly and repeatedly failed to deliver” on the assurances that she said he had given her on several policy lines, including as regards both legal and illegal immigration.
“These are not just pet interests of mine,” she continued. “They are what we promised the British people in our 2019 manifesto which led to a landslide victory. They are what people voted for in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
“Our deal was no mere promise over dinner, to be discarded when convenient and denied when challenged.”
She tweeted out her full resignation letter, which can be read here:
Mr Sunak now faces mounting pressure to deliver the legislation, whereas some of his own Tory MPs appear to remain sceptical over his ideology.
Last week, BBC presenter Laura Kuenssberg told the Prime Minister in an interview that she had seen documents questioning Mr Sunak’s faith in the Rwanda plan – devised under Boris Johnson’s government.
In an interview with GB News, Ms Braverman said: “What we want to see if we want to stop the boats is regular flights taking off to Rwanda with large numbers of passengers.
“A token flight with a handful of people on it is not going to stop the boats. We need an effective deterrent.
“People are coming over in their thousands on small boats. They need to know that if they get here, they will be detained, they will be put on a plane and they will be removed to Rwanda.”
The Tory MP – now once again a backbencher, but seen by some in Westminster, owing to her former holding of a Great Office of State, as an influential one – added that voters are “fed up with the boats” and “fed up with broken promises”, and that this is the “last chance” for the Government to get it right.
She joins more than 50 Conservative MPs who are poised to back amendments to the Rwanda Bill that are designed to strengthen the legislation, amid fears by some on the right wing of the party that it will not prove effective.
The amendments endorsed by Ms Braverman would attempt to argue that Rule 39 orders from the European Court of Human Rights are not binding, meaning that Ministers can direct flights to take off even if the European Court says they may not, as The Independent reported on Friday.
The next batch of amendments to the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill are due to be debated in Parliament on Monday.