Andrew Marr: If this is how a government dies, it's a very strange kind of death

12 December 2023, 18:24

Tonight with Andrew Marr
Tonight with Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC

By Emma Soteriou

The Tory rebel right is risking shooting itself in the foot if it votes against the Rwanda Bill, Andrew Marr has said.

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Opening LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, the presenter addressed the crunch Rwanda migration vote set to take place on Tuesday evening.

"If this is how a government dies, it's a very strange kind of death," Andrew said.

"It's weirdly fun, today. Goggle-eyed circles of hacks clustered around little-known Tory MPs - Sir Marmalade Buttock, or Lloyd Lloyd Floyd Boyd, or the Member for Scurf and Clippings, so obscure even he’s forgotten his name.

"We’ve had wibbly wobbly wets so watery they’ve turned into vapour. We’ve had Star Chambers. We’ve had intertwining of once distinct Tory factions - the ERG coupling with the Common Sense Group; the new Conservatives canoodling with No Turning Back - in a kind of intense parliamentary copulation which makes everybody involved very pink and excited.

"I am mocking. Am I right to mock? 

"At one level it has been irresistible. But at another level, it's profoundly wrong because today we also heard of the death of an asylum seeker on the Bibby Stockholm barge, having taken their own life; and this has also hung over the whole day, reminding us that this is not a parliamentary game - it’s not ultimately about voting blocks, and deals, and haggles and whips - but a matter of life and death for real, living fellow human beings."

Read more: Asylum seeker 'takes own life' on board Bibby Stockholm barge ahead of Rishi's crunch Rwanda vote

Read more: Rwanda crunch vote to go ahead after PM’s last-ditch talks to quell Tory revolt, as Robert Jenrick tears into bill

Andrew Marr mono 12/12

He continued: "Yesterday I said that I thought that in the end the government would get this bill through today's vote.

"But all afternoon I've been scratching my head and wondering. There doesn't seem any logic behind what the Tory rebel right is doing tonight. You’d think experienced politicians would have some kind of plan. 

"So, let's just walk through how it's going this evening. They want to send migrants to Rwanda. But they don't like the bill that would make this happen, so they are considering, in about an hour and a half's time, voting it down.

"That would mean that the most pro-Rwanda-plan Tories had ended up in the position where there was no bill - in fact no Rwanda policy at all. They would have managed something that all the Lefty lawyers in North London, all the bleeding heart pro-asylum pressure groups and student unions of these benighted isles had completely failed to do. In short, they'd have shot themselves, point blank, in the foot.

"Now they hope the prime minister would then be forced to bring forward a different bill of the kind they want. But that means ending our membership of the European Convention on human rights. If a new bill did that, the Tory left wouldn't vote for it and Rwanda would walk away.

"Again, no Rwanda policy at all. But that's just the beginning of the planlessness. Vote down the bill tonight and you effectively gut what's left of Rishi Sunak's authority and premiership.

"You probably catapult Britain towards an early election. Which, if the polls are anything like correct, brings in a Labour government which despises the Rwanda policy.

"Having shot themselves in one foot, teetering unsteadily, the Rebels would then have completed the job by shooting off the other foot as well. To put it gently, this doesn't seem like much of a plan to me."