'On Tuesday he loves the policy, 24 hours later he quits over it': Nick Ferrari grills minister over Jenrick's resignation

7 December 2023, 08:39 | Updated: 7 December 2023, 09:43

'On Tuesday he loves the policy, 24 hours later he's quit over it!' Ferrari grills minister

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

'On Tuesday he loves the policy, yet 24 hours later he's quit over it?' Nick Ferrari grills minister over Robert Jenrick's resignation.

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Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said the new migration rules were "the strongest bunch of measures we've ever taken."

Just 48 hours ago Mr Jenrick was wheeled out on the 'media round' and even spoke to Nick on LBC praising the plan while sitting in the same chair as Mr Heaton-Harris.

Nick took the minister to task: "On a Tuesday the government puts out a minister talking up a great policy that 24 hours later he decided to quit over. Some of you appear so bent that you can't lie straight in bed over the truth."

Mr Heaton-Harris said he "disagreed entirely" with Nick over the characterisation.

"On a Tuesday he loves the policy, he's selling it to the nation on the Wednesday he's decided he quits," Nick again challenged the minister.

But, Mr Heaton-Harris again said he rejected the characterisation of Jenrick.

Read more: Shades of Suella: Immigration minister admits working closely with Braverman on tough new migrant crackdown

Watch again 05/11: Nick Ferrari is joined by Robert Jenrick

Robert Jenrick told the Prime Minister on Wednesday that his draft Bill aimed at stopping small boat crossings "does not go far enough" and is a "triumph of hope over experience".

Mr Sunak's long-term political ally argued that he had to quit because he has "such strong disagreements" with his approach to immigration.

The draft Bill compels judges to treat Rwanda as a safe country after the Supreme Court ruled the scheme was unlawful over risks to refugees.

The legislation, which must be voted on by Parliament, gives ministers the powers to disregard sections of the Human Rights Act.

But it does not go as far as allowing them to dismiss the European Convention on Human Rights, as hardliners including sacked home secretary Suella Braverman have demanded.

Mrs Braverman's allies made clear that the legislation is "fatally flawed", indicating that she believes it will quickly lead the Tories into "electoral oblivion".

Mr Sunak reportedly told Conservative backbenchers at the 1922 Committee shortly before Mr Jenrick quit that they must "unite or die".

In his resignation letter, Mr Jenrick said he was "grateful" for Mr Sunak moving towards his position on the legislation, but added he does not "believe it provides us with the best possible chance of success".

Mr Jenrick said they must do "whatever it takes" to stop Channel crossings, adding: "This emergency legislation is the last opportunity to prove this, but in its current drafting it does not go far enough."

Mr Sunak wrote back to Mr Jenrick to tell him his resignation was "disappointing".

"I fear that your departure is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation," he said. "If we were to oust the courts entirely, we would collapse the entire scheme."

Home Secretary James Cleverly wrote on the front page of the legislation that he cannot guarantee that it is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Bill says that "every decision-maker" - specifically mentioning the courts - "must conclusively treat the Republic of Rwanda as a safe country".

It states that ministers will decide whether to ignore interim measures issued by the European Court of Human Rights which have previously scuppered flights.

Combined with the new legally binding treaty brokered with Rwanda, the Government hopes it can get the policy first announced in April last year off the ground.