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Sunak faces down disgruntled right-wing Tory MPs to win crunch Rwanda vote

12 Dec 2023 2 minute read
MPs have approved the Safety of Rwanda Bill at second reading by 313 votes to 269, majority 44, in the House of Commons. Photo House of Commons/UK Parliament/PA Wire

The Prime Minister has won a crunch vote on his Rwanda plan despite right-wing Conservative factions announcing they could not back emergency “stop the boats” legislation.

With Rishi Sunak facing a test of his authority, there appeared to be fears in his administration that a potential rebellion could see the Safety of Rwanda Bill defeated at its first hurdle in the Commons.

Comfortable majority

But MPs approved the Bill at second reading by 313 votes to 269 on Tuesday, giving the UK Government a comfortable winning majority of 44.

Following the result, the Prime Minister tweeted: “The British people should decide who gets to come to this country – not criminal gangs or foreign courts.

“That’s what this Bill delivers.

“We will now work to make it law so that we can get flights going to Rwanda and stop the boats.”

Tory MPs who had been demanding tougher measures as part of the legislation announced only moments before the crunch vote that they could not support the Bill in its current form.

Nerves

The announcement had looked to put the Bill in potential jeopardy and there appeared to be nerves in Downing Street, with climate change minister Graham Stuart flown back from last-ditch talks at the Cop28 summit in Dubai to vote for the legislation.

But the outcome proved more comfortable than initially feared for Mr Sunak.

The division list showed no Tory MPs voted against the Bill.

There were 38 Conservative MPs listed as having no vote recorded, although this does not automatically equate to an abstention.

The division list released by the Commons authorities indicates that 307 Tory MPs voted for the Bill, along with five independent MPs, including Peter Bone, who has the Conservative whip suspended.


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Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
2 months ago

Lets hope you keep copies of your WhatsApp messages

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