Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a press conference in the Downing Street Briefing Room (Picture: PA)
The prime minister has once again rolled the dice as he gambled his political career on a pledge to send some asylum seekers on a one-way flight to Rwanda.
Sunak said he is a ‘child of immigrants’ and understands why vulnerable people travel across the English Channel to get to Britain.
‘But the difference is, my family came here legally,’ he said.
On Wednesday, Sunak unveiled the ‘Safety of Rwanda Bill’ that, as its name suggests, ‘conclusively deems’ the nation a safe country.
The emergency legislation, to be introduced today by Home Secretary James Cleverly, hasn’t had the warmest reception.
Human rights defenders and officials recoiled in horror at the plans, while hard-line Tories feel it doesn’t go far enough.
Former home secretary Suella Braverman bluntly said Sunak’s draft law is doomed to ‘fail’, with immigration minister Robert Jenrisk quitting shortly after.
Suella Braverman has said Sunak’s plan will likely ‘fail’ (Picture: Jessica Taylor)
The uproar comes less than a month after the Supreme Court ruled that the Central African nation is too unsafe to send asylum seekers who travelled to British shores by small boat.
Doing so, the court added, would violate international laws, as countless refugee rights groups and legal experts had warned for months since the flagship plan was first announced by Boris Johnson last year.
Sunak, however, plans to leapfrog over the Supreme Court to get the contested law into the books.
He will rush the bill through the House of Commons, bypass sections of the Human Rights Act (HRA) sections and ‘any other provision or rule of domestic law, and any interpretation of international law by the court or tribunal’.
In explanatory notes outlining the draft law, Cleverly admitted that he is ‘unable to make a statement’ saying that the Safery of Rwanda Bill is ‘compatible’ with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Courts will be given the power to simply ignore any injunction from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to block flights.
Sunak said on X yesterday evening: ‘It is parliament that should decide who comes to this country, not criminal gangs.’
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Sunak is on the defensive as critics pan the government’s ‘toughest asylum policy’ yet.