What is the Rwanda Bill? What parts of the Bill are Tory critics unhappy with? What does winning the Rwanda vote mean for Rishi Sunak?

Rishi Sunak survived a vote on his “stop the boats” legislation, but the crisis is far from over

The Prime Minister has seen off a rebellion by his own MPs over the Rwanda Bill, but still faces significant challenges to get it passed.

Aimed at creating a deterrent to small boat crossings, his Bill survived a second reading following a frantic day of talks between Downing Street and Tory rebels.

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However, the Bill remains highly contentious, meaning the legislation will still struggle to get through the Commons in the New Year.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing a battle over his Rwanda legislation.Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing a battle over his Rwanda legislation.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing a battle over his Rwanda legislation.

The issues began following the Supreme Court declaring the policy unlawful, because Rwanda was not a safe third country and migrants are at risk of being sent back to their homelands where they could face mistreatment.

To address this, the Prime Minister agreed a new treaty with Rwanda, with Downing Street claiming the country has made changes to address the concerns.

However, this new legislation doesn’t offer proof of the changes, instead seeking to override any laws that would prevent the deportation scheme going ahead.

It disapplies some sections of Britain's Human Rights Act and says it is up to ministers whether to comply with any injunction from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The problem going forward for Mr Sunak is MPs on the right of his party don’t think it goes far enough, and want Britain to leave the ECHR. They argue it would not stop deportations being blocked by the courts.

At the same time, centrist Tories are worried the Bill goes too far, and won’t accept any changes that makes it more extreme.

Here lies the issue for the Prime Minister. While right-wing MPs abstained, if the Bill doesn’t have changes, they will not support it at a third reading. Downing Street has hinted they will harden it up to address concerns, but when they can’t say the Bill is legal as is, MPs are sceptical changes are likely.

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All of this increases the chance of an early election, given rebels are framing the vote as a confidence issue on Mr Sunak’s premiership.

The Prime Minister has made the Rwanda scheme integral to his leadership, and he now faces battles not just in the courts, but from his own MPs.



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