TORY rebels last night launched a plot to harden the Rwanda plan so meddling European judges are automatically overruled.
Tory rebels have launched bid to harden Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda bill[/caption]
Damian Green – leader of the One Nation caucus of moderates – yesterday even claimed Mr Sunak “looked him in the eye” and swore the Bill would not go any further.
After surviving a muted revolt last month, the emergency legislation that seeks to salvage the flagship deportation scheme will return to the Commons next week.
Yet the “Five Families” cabal of hawkish backbenchers – who abstained on the first vote in December – still believe the current draft law is too weak.
They are rowing behind an amendment tabled by ex-immigration minister Robert Jenrick and Brexit spartan Sir Bill Cash to “end the merry-go-round” of legal blocks to planes taking off.
Their proposals would see ministers ignore Strasbourg judges as a default if they demanded a deportation flight was kiboshed on European Court of Human Rights grounds.
While the existing legislation gives ministers the discretion to overrule Rule 39 wrecking injunctions, Mr Sunak angered MPs last weekend for refusing to say he would use the powers.
Changes would also bar individual asylum seekers from fighting their removal with endless court challenges in all-but limited circumstances.
They would also seek to disapply ECHR and Human Rights Act hurdles from migration policy using “notwithstanding clauses”.
The group – that includes the leaders of the New Conservatives, Conservative Growth Group, Common Sense Group, European Research group and Northern Research Group back the plan – claim their reforms have been given the thumbs up by leading lawyers who insist it does not breach international law.
Mr Jenrick said last night: “The stakes for the country could not be higher.
“If we don’t fix this Bill the country will be consigned to more illegal crossings, more farcical hotels and billions more wasted taxpayer money in the years to come.
“That’s why l’ve tabled a set of amendments that block small boat arrivals making individual claims and prevent pyjama judgements from Strasbourg grounding removals.
“Parliament isn’t a parish council, it’s our sovereign legislative body.
“The power to solve this crisis is in our hands and the responsibility on our shoulders.”
Mr Sunak this week said he was open to “bright ideas” from MPs wanting to strengthen the Bill, but claimed Rwanda would pull the plug if it went any further.
The 100-strong group of One Nation Conservatives have also threatened to oppose any more toughening.
Mr Green told the New Statesman: “The Prime Minister’s looked me in the eye and said that he doesn’t want to go any further.”
Immigration Minister Tom Pursglove yesterday said the Rwanda Bill was the “single toughest piece of immigration legislation” ever introduced in the house.
He told MPs the government was committed to sending illegal migrants to Kigali “as soon as possible”.