Sunak orders emergency summit today to avoid Tory civil war over Rwanda Bill
PM Rishi Sunak says he’s ‘confident’ about Rwanda legislation
Rishi Sunak ordered a secret summit to take place this morning (Tuesday) to work out how to make a deal with the right of his party over the Rwanda Bill to allow deportation flights of illegal migrants to go ahead.
The Prime Minister asked his immigration minister Michael Tomlinson and Parliamentary Private Secretary Craig Williams to meet with leading figures on the right, a European Research Group (ERG) source has told Express.co.uk.
The meeting in the Home Office came amid growing disquiet in Downing Street that the unification of groups on the right dubbed “the five families” could end up with the Rwanda Bill being voted down and a push to remove Mr Sunak as party leader and Prime Minister.
Already, there is speculation that former Home Secretary Suella Braverman and ex-immigration minister Robert Jenrick, who resigned over the Bill, are potentially forming a leadership ticket.
But a source at the meeting said that it was “very positive” and claimed “there seems to be an acceptance that the Bill needs to be amended significantly.”
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It is understood around 15 MPs from the right were invited to the secret meeting including Sir Bill Cash and David Jones who run the so-called “star chamber” for the ERG which considers the legal and constitutional implications of key Bills for the group.
The star chamber was highly critical of the Rwanda Bill and said it left too many opportunities for individual legal challenges to prevent the Rwanda deportation flights from going ahead.
Mr Sunak has pressed ahead with the Rwanda policy as the centrepiece of stopping the small boats coming across the Channel in the hope that sending arrivals to Rwanda will break the business model of human traffickers.
Others at the meeting are understood to be Sir John Hayes, chairman of the influential Common Sense Group; Danny Kruger co-founder of the New Conservatives; Sir Simon Clarke from the Conservative Growth Group; and former minister Caroline Johnson.
It is believed Ms Braverman and Mr Jenrick were also both invited but unable to attend.
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One source from the meeting told Express.co.uk: “There seems to be a willingness to listen an engage with us on the Bill which was not there before.
“The Prime Minister’s speech in Rome when he attended [Italian Prime Minister] Giorgia Meloni’s conference seems to have significant and mark a change of direction on this issue from him.
“It was certainly much better in tone and I think there is a chance we can agree amendments which put this Bill right and remove the holes which will prevent deportation flights taking place.”
If Mr Sunak strikes a deal with the right of his party he may still find he has a fight on the left with the One Nation group opposing any further toughening of the Bill or blocks to international law.
But one MP on the right of the Tories noted: “In truth, the One Nation group are now mostly ministers in government. If they vote against the Bill all but a handful would have to resign and as most of them are careerists that seems very unlikely.
“They claim to be 106 but in reality they are 30 at most in terms of backbenchers while the five groups on the right of the party include more than 120.”
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