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Sunak defends new Rwanda plan as he battles to maintain authority

07 Dec 2023 2 minute read
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a press conference in the Downing Street Briefing Room Photo James Manning/PA Wire

Rishi Sunak insisted his new plan to revive the stalled Rwanda asylum scheme “blocks every single reason that has ever been used to prevent flights”.

As the Prime Minister battled to keep his Tory party behind him, he claimed going any further would mean “the entire scheme will collapse”.

Mr Sunak has staked his reputation on coming up with a plan to “stop the boats” but his authority has been damaged by the resignation of immigration minister Robert Jenrick, who claimed the plan does not go far enough.


At a Downing Street press conference he said the Government’s proposed new immigration law would “restore people’s trust that the system is fair”.

The Prime Minister said: “Today the Government has introduced the toughest anti-illegal immigration law ever.

“I know that it will upset some people and you will hear a lot of criticism about it, so it’s right to explain why I have done this.”

Mr Jenrick resigned on Wednesday over the new emergency legislation aimed at reviving the policy by declaring Rwanda a safe country after the scheme to send asylum seekers there was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court.

Former home secretary Suella Braverman also said the law did not go far enough, saying it would need to override international conventions in order to succeed.


But Mr Sunak said the Safety of Rwanda Bill “blocks every single reason that has ever been used to prevent flights to Rwanda from taking off”.

“The only extremely narrow exception will be if you can prove with credible and compelling evidence that you specifically have a real and imminent risk of serious and irreversible harm,” he said.

He said that failing to recognise that would “undermine the treaty” signed with Rwanda.

The Kigali government has stressed the need for the new UK legislation to be compatible with international law.

Mr Sunak said: “If we go any further the entire scheme will collapse and there is no point having a Bill with nowhere to send people to.”

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5 months ago

Incomprehensible presser. The bloke is on the rack and squirming, passing laws doesn’t prove a country or process is safe. This is a worrying time for the UK. And an awful position for the vulnerable people.
The press at the event didn’t really hold him to account, I wonder how many of the lobby press fear future engagement if they ask good questions.
He also aimed at the ECHR.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
5 months ago

Pull up the drawbridge, build the walls. Stop the boats, stop the immigrants. Driven by xenophobia and fear. Everything you hear from this government is about their obsession with immigration, how much money, that could be put to better use elsewhere, it being funneled into feed this obsession? It’s time for the Tories to go.

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
5 months ago

With the government’s contempt for international law, the Untied Kingdom is a rogue state.

5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Woods

Once one country violates international law then it sets a precedent for others to do the same.

5 months ago
Reply to  Rob

States already do this. See Russia, China, couple of oil states. We now sit in the same circle.
EU, Good Friday Agreement, trading with other countries, now at risk.
Dig deeper, our rights at risk, say Braverman gets in, there are enough far right loons with scary idea’s that will come after you once they get a feel for it. Say the wrong thing about Braverman as a PM, or Jenrick, doors put in by the riot squad and you are carted off to jail.

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