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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 April 2024

Sacked minister Suella Braverman hits out at UK PM Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda bill

The controversial bill, now going through its parliamentary process after clearing a first hurdle in the Commons last month

PTI London Published 13.01.24, 04:57 PM
Suella Braverman

Suella Braverman File

Suella Braverman, sacked as UK Home Secretary last year, has hit out at her former boss to say Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Safety of Rwanda Bill coming up in Parliament next week won’t work.

After stern statements in the House of Commons during the week, the Indian-origin former minister said in an interview with ‘GB News' channel on Friday that she will not support the bill in its current form.

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The controversial bill, now going through its parliamentary process after clearing a first hurdle in the Commons last month, seeks to overcome legal hurdles in the way of deporting asylum seekers to the east African nation as a key strategy to meet Sunak’s pledge to “stop the boats” of illegal migrants landing on England’s shores.

“I am only going to support a bill that works. As currently drafted, this bill does not work,” Braverman said in the interview.

“And if there are no improvements to it, I will have to vote against it, I’m afraid. I am sent to Parliament to vote for things, to be for things or to be against them, not to sit on the fence,” she said.

British MPs are due to debate and vote on amendments to the bill on Tuesday and Wednesday next week before its Third Reading vote, the final stage for any new legislation to clear in the Commons before it is sent to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.

It could prove a big headache for the Sunak-led government, which faces defeat if 32 of his own Conservative Party MPs vote against it.

Such an outcome would make history as a government bill has not been defeated at a Third Reading in the House of Commons since 1977.

Many from the Tory rebel wing have tabled several amendments that aim to prevent future deportation flights being stalled by legal challenges by migrant groups.

Robert Jenrick, a one-time ally who resigned as Sunak’s immigration minister over the issue, is believed to be leading the group behind the amendments.

“I have been very concerned by the high number of ministers to whom I have spoken who have grave reservations about this bill,” said Baverman.

Asked for numbers, she responded: “Oh, dozens. I actually haven’t spoken to many ministers who genuinely believe that this bill is going to work.” The former home secretary said it would be “far better” to defeat Sunak’s Safety of Rwanda Bill and start again than to proceed with legislation that “won’t stop the boats”.

“We may all feel a temporary sense of achievement by passing a bill but in a few months time when we see that plane grounded on the tarmac, when we are failing to remove people to Rwanda, when we are clogged up in the courts, it will be very, very disappointing and people will ask us, rightly, ‘what did you do to try and avoid that catastrophe?’ That is what I am trying to do now. I am trying to avoid the catastrophe of failing to deliver on this pledge,” said Braverman.

The bill is central to Sunak's pledge to take decisive action to curtail illegal migration before he faces the electorate in a general election, expected in the second half of the year.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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