Emergency legislation to deem Rwanda a safe destination has been published, as the Government bids to revive the flagship asylum policy following last month’s Supreme Court defeat.
The Bill is set to be rushed through the Commons and comes after Home Secretary James Cleverly signed a new treaty in Kigali amid efforts to remedy the concerns of the UK’s highest court.
Tory MPs from across the party are now expected to scrutinise the Bill, which Rishi Sunak will hope can reassure right-wingers and centrist MPs alike.
It comes amid fears that a too radical approach on the role of the European Court of Human Rights and other international obligations could prompt ministerial resignations.
We will be making the case for how this Bill enables us to move forward and deliver the outcome that all Conservatives want, on behalf of the British public
But MPs from the right of the party may be angered if Mr Sunak fails to deliver a sufficiently hardline approach.
“What the Conservatives want is to stop the boats and tackle illegal immigration. And what this Bill will do is enable us to move forward with an effective deterrent scheme, (which) as the Prime Minister said, is a key component of getting those boat numbers down,” the Prime Minister’s press secretary said.
“We will be making the case for how this Bill enables us to move forward and deliver the outcome that all Conservatives want, on behalf of the British public,” she added.
The legislation has not been discussed by the full Cabinet, but No 10 insisted the “relevant Secretaries of State, ministers are fully engaged”.
The right-wing European Research Group (ERG) has said its so-called “star chamber” of lawyers will scrutinise the legislation before MPs vote on it.
But Tory MPs from the One Nation faction have urged ministers to ensure the country follows rule of law rather than trying to undermine the oversight of the Strasbourg court.
The Prime Minister has been warned that any Bill that would attempt to limit the oversight of the ECHR or undermine the Human Rights Act could face serious delays in the House of Lords.
Mr Sunak and other ministers have been engaging with Tory MPs from across the party ahead of the publication of the legislation.
Downing Street has urged parliamentarians to look at the Bill closely “before they pass judgment”.
“All MPs are legislators. They should look at what is written in the text of the Bill,” Mr Sunak’s press secretary said.
The legislation was promised as part of the a twin-track strategy to resurrect the Rwanda plan after the Supreme Court found it was unlawful, in a major blow to the Government.
Mr Sunak has pinned his re-election hopes on cracking down on small boats crossings, but has faced questions about whether any planes will actually leave for the African nation ahead of the next general election.
Earlier, Home Office minister Chris Philp said the Bill would be “legally watertight” and would ensure the Rwanda plan could not be “unpicked” by judges.
The new treaty, signed on Tuesday, means British and Commonwealth judges will preside over a newly established appeals process within Rwanda’s high court for exceptional cases.
Another key measure is a commitment that no-one will be removed by Rwanda to any other country except the UK.