Sunak warned by 3 Tory right leaders they may vote against Rwanda Bill

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Rishi Sunak has been warned by the leaders of three groups on the Tory right they could vote against his Rwanda Bill if he does not bow to their demands to toughen the legislation.

Mark Francois, Sir John Hayes and Danny Kruger urged colleagues to join them in “standing firm” when the “simply not good enough” legislation faces key votes this week.

The Bill, which the Prime Minister has placed as central to his promise to “stop the boats”, will reopen a rift in the Conservatives when it returns to the Commons on Tuesday.

Brexiteer Mark Francois is a rebel ringleader Credit: Lucy Noth/PA

More than 50 Tories on the right of the party have backed amendments seeking to ignore international law and curtail asylum seekers’ rights to appeal against flights to Kigali.

Mr Francois, chair of the European Research Group; Sir John, of the Common Sense Group; and the New Conservatives’ Mr Kruger made a joint intervention in the Sunday Telegraph.

They said they abstained at the first vote on the Bill before Christmas because Mr Sunak promised he was prepared to see the Bill “tightened”, adding: “We took him at his word.”

Comparing themselves to the Tory “spartans” who destroyed Theresa May’s Brexit deal, they said they will again “face criticism from colleagues that we are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good”.

“But the point is that the Bill is simply not good enough in its current form to deliver the outcome we all seek,” they wrote.

“Failing to deliver for the British people carries a much greater cost than temporary discomfort in Parliament.

“Standing firm is no more or less than our duty, for it means keeping our promise to those we serve – our constituents.”

Mr Sunak, however, has argued that moving a further “inch” on the Bill would risk the Rwandans quitting the deal.

More moderate Tories in the One Nation group could also oppose any changes that threaten international law.

Labour will not back any of the right-wing amendments, meaning the Tory rebels only real chance to scupper the legislation would be to vote against it entirely.

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If they were successful, blocking the Prime Minister’s flagship Bill would trigger fresh chaos – something that may make opponents toe the line to let it pass.

The Tory right had made a big show of unity when at the last vote, forming a self-styled faction of “five families”. But the letter in the Telegraph lacked signatures from two other groups: the Conservative Growth Group and the Northern Research Group.

The former home secretary and rival to Mr Sunak, Suella Braverman, has said she will this time vote against the Bill if there are “no improvements” having previously abstained.

Robert Jenrick, who resigned as immigration minister over the legislation, was also making a push for Mr Sunak to bolster the Bill.

Writing in the Sun on Sunday, he compared it to “a bucket riddled with holes”.

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