• Sunday, December 03, 2023

UK News

Rwanda ruling: Braverman demands Sunak enact legislation or concede defeat

By: Kimberly Rodrigues

Amid a stir among right-wing Conservative MPs, Suella Braverman has joined the movement for emergency legislation challenging the Supreme Court’s ruling on the UK government’s deportation strategy regarding Rwanda.

Following her recent dismissal as home secretary and her earlier criticism of Rishi Sunak, Braverman urged the prime minister to either enact legislation or acknowledge defeat, The Guardian reported.

She emphasised the necessity of a bill that would counter UK international and domestic legal obligations, such as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Human Rights Act, which have posed hurdles to the Rwanda deportation plans.

“This will give parliament a clear choice: control illegal migration or explain to the British people why they should accept ever greater numbers of illegal arrivals settling here,” she said on Twitter.

“Those who, like me, believe that effective immigration control is vital must understand that they cannot have their cake and eat it: there is no chance of curbing illegal migration within the current legal framework. We must legislate or admit defeat.”

Braverman’s recent criticisms coincided with indications that at least six MPs were preparing to submit letters of no confidence in Sunak, revealed by rebel backbencher Andrea Jenkyns, who had already filed her own.

While there was a guarded response to Sunak’s commitment from some right-wing Conservative MPs, they cautioned that the promised legislation should reach parliament swiftly and ensure flights to Rwanda commence within months.

The New Conservatives, a group led by Miriam Cates and Danny Kruger, emphasised the need for more than a mere assurance regarding Rwanda’s safety. They stressed the urgency to eliminate any avenue for rights-based deportation claims this time around.

“The Bill must disapply the Human Rights Act and give effect to the policy notwithstanding the ECHR and Refugee Convention. It must restate the power of Govt to disregard interim rulings from Strasbourg,” they added in a post on Twitter.

“We have no time left. This Bill – which must come to Parliament within weeks – must have everything in it to ensure that flights are in the air within months.”

In response to the supreme court ruling on the Rwanda deportation plan, former minister Simon Clarke highlighted concerns over the prime minister’s leadership and the Conservatives’ confidence, referring to a new “confidence issue” stemming from the judgment.

“I think we are going to have to pass emergency legislation at a minimum to set out that the will of parliament will apply notwithstanding the ECHR and associated conventions that the justices reference,” Clarke said following the ruling by supreme court judges that deemed the Rwanda plan unlawful, citing a breach of various UK international obligations.

Following a parliamentary meeting involving MPs like Iain Duncan Smith and veteran Eurosceptic Bill Cash, Lee Anderson, the Conservative party deputy chair, suggested that the government should defy the law.

He advocated for immediate deportation of asylum seekers by sending planes into the air and returning them the same day.

When questioned about the prime minister’s stance on Anderson’s suggestion to break the law, Sunak’s spokesperson said, “We appreciate that our MPs have strong views on this because, frankly, the country cares about this.”

In a contrasting stance within the party, former minister Damian Green emphasized the importance of government adherence to the law while engaging with Home Secretary James Cleverly.

During an earlier meeting attended by approximately 25 right-wing MPs, including Cates and Marco Longhi, Jonathan Gullis, a “red wall” MP, indicated discussions regarding a potential plan B.

This alternative strategy might involve an Australian-style approach to push back boats in the Channel and possibly return individuals to French beaches.

Kruger emphasised that the broad implications of the ruling necessitated a comprehensive assessment of the UK’s involvement in various treaties and conventions.

He stressed the urgency for the government to affirm sovereignty by introducing legislation to counter the influence of the European court, the ECHR, and potentially other conventions, including the refugee convention.

Highlighting the gravity of the situation for the party, Kruger underscored that the government’s response would significantly impact public trust. He asserted that failing to fulfill the prime minister’s commitments would erode trust in the government.

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