Rebel Tory MPs unite in fresh bid to 'toughen up' Rwanda law by ignoring foreign courts and closing 'loopholes'

9 January 2024, 22:30

Rebel Tory MPs have united in a fresh bid to ‘toughen up’ the Rwanda Bill
Rebel Tory MPs have united in a fresh bid to ‘toughen up’ the Rwanda Bill. Picture: Alamy
Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

Rebel Tories have put down several amendments demanding Rishi Sunak ignore foreign court orders and quash legal challenges to get flights off to Rwanda.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

A group of 30 top MPs led by former immigration minister Robert Jenrick and former Home Secretary Suella Braverman have put forward at least four changes to the PMs flagship new law in a bid to toughen it up – saying “the stakes could not be higher”.

Their changes would give ministers powers to automatically ignore Strasbourg Courts injunctions, and prevent individual migrants from being able to bring claims to suspend flights in all but a limited set of circumstances.

The PM has dodged questions on whether he would ignore so-called section 39 orders or not.

The group will also put forward changes which will try to block courts relying on international treaties including the European Convention on Human Rights and Human Rights Act.

They say that the new law as it stands “simply won’t work” and will mean flights to Rwanda will remain grounded, costing more in “farcical migrant hotels and billions more of wasted taxpayers’ money in the years to come”.

Rwanda flights will 'start in Spring' says Home Secretary

Read more: Sunak 'overruled plans to close dozens more migrant hotels' due to 'lack of confidence in Rwanda plan'

Read more: Sunak 'considered axing Rwanda scheme' during leadership bid but was warned off by allies

Penny Mordaunt told MPs on Tuesday that the bill will be debated for two days on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a string of showdown votes expected.

The PM said on Monday he was open to "bright ideas" from all wings of the party to tweak the legislation.

It will say in law that Rwanda is a safe country in a bid to get flights to take off before the next election.

The MPs have received legal advice from leading lawyers, including John Larkin KC, who says that it would not breach international law.

Sunak faces down disgruntled right-wing Tory MPs to win crunch Rwanda vote

MPs backing the changes include former Tory boss, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, and other top Tories including Sir Jacob Rees Mogg, Sir Jake Berry, and Tories of various rebel factions including Sir John Hayes, Sir Jake Berry and Danny Kruger.

Former immigration minister 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 migrant hotels and billions more of wasted taxpayers’ money in the years to come.

“The Bill as drafted simply will not work because it doesn’t end the merry-go-round of legal challenges that frustrate removals. I’ve seen the legal advice and operational plans where this was painfully apparent.

“That’s why myself and colleagues have tabled a set of amendments that block small boat arrivals making individual claims and prevent Rule 39 pyjama injunctions from Strasbourg grounding planes.

“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. If the government truly want to stop the boats, it should adopt these amendments and use parliament’s power to deliver on the repeated promises we have made the public.”

But the group admitted that there will still be some routes to legal challenge – such as whether a migrant is medically unfit to fly, or under 18.

Last year, the Supreme Court slapped down the plan, saying it was unlawful, and forcing ministers to come forward with a plan B.

Rebel Tories threatened to vote it down, but in the end it passed comfortably through its first reading at the end of last year.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

The minibus lying on its side

Seventeen rushed to hospital after bus carrying football fans overturns on motorway in multiple car smash

Russia Ukraine War

More civilians die in Ukraine amid warning US aid delays will hamper Kyiv forces

Bill Nighy

Bill Nighy and Paloma Faith join celebrities demanding Government act over Sudan

Dawn Singleton was among six victims of the stabbings

Victim of Sydney stabbings 'bought wedding dress days earlier' and was preparing to send out invitations

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

Israel says Iran conflict 'not over' and vows to 'collect a price when timing is right', as US urges restraint

Poland Abortion

Polish opponents of abortion march against recent steps to liberalise strict law

A boy, 8, was killed in the incident.

Boy, 8, dies after crash on quiet Wiltshire cul-de-sac

Five of the six victims from the stabbing have been named.

Victims of Sydney stabbings named as heartbroken tributes flood in following attack by knifeman who killed six

Rishi Sunak confirmed a number of Iranian drones attacking Israel were shot down by RAF jets.

RAF jets shot down ‘a number’ of Iranian drones attacking Israel, Rishi Sunak says

A demonstrator waves Iranian and Palestinian flags during an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran

What is the fallout from Iran’s attack on Israel?

Disability advocate Charlotte Anderson advises people on how to apply for PIP.

YouTuber who fills out PIP applications for £650 each says she has ‘only ever lost one claim in six years’

Planning documents show the owners of the pub want to rebuild it in a new location.

Owners of Crooked House agree to rebuild ‘Britain’s wonkiest pub’ - providing it's in a new location

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US's commitment to defending Israel's security.

Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad support' of Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Israeli's military have fought off a massive Iranian drone and missile attack - downing more than 200 weapons launched by the hostile state with the help of ace RAF pilots.

Israel fights off massive Iran attack - downing over 200 missiles and drones with help of RAF