Rishi Sunak news – live: PM in crisis as Tory ‘star chamber’ rejects Rwanda plan

David Cameron deployed to fend off rebellion as Gove insists Sunak ‘not contemplating’ general election if he loses Commons vote

Rishi Sunak’s premiership appears to be in the balance as the so-called “star chamber” of Tory lawyers concluded his plans to rescue the ailing Rwanda asylum scheme are “not fit for purpose” – with the PM reportedly deploying David Cameron to fend off a rebellion.

The verdict, which will be closely watched by dozes of rebel MPs, sets the prime minister up for a potential defeat in a crucial Commons vote on Tuesday hanging on a margin of 28 ballots, in a struggle now reminiscent of Theresa May’s fight with a bitterly divided Conservative Party over Brexit.

The bill is a last-ditch bid to get planes in the air after the Supreme Court ruled the government’s previous plans illegal, however right-wing Tories are now urging No 10 to override the European Conventions on Human Rights.

Sacked home secretary Suella Braverman appeared to accuse Mr Sunak of lying on Sunday as she criticised his “rather strange claim” that Rwanda could “collapse” the deal if it breaches international law.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is set to say the Conservatives cannot govern while they are “fighting like rats in a sack” in a speech on Tuesday.

Braverman suggest Sunak is lying about Rwanda’s concerns over bill

Sacked home secretary Suella Braverman has piled even more pressure on Rishi Sunak – attacking his “rather strange” claim that a tougher bill would have caused the deal with Rwanda to collapse.

Suggesting the PM was not telling the truth, she told the Sunday Telegraph: “I’ve been to Rwanda several times and I have spoken to the Rwandan government a lot. It never once raised any kind of concerns like this.”

Ms Braverman said the bill “not fit for purpose” because of the “gaping holes” she believes it leaves open for legal challenges.

Backing Robert Jenrick’s claim that the bill leaves open legal challenges by individual asylum seekers, Ms Braverman said: “There will be individual claims brought by every person who is put on the first flight to Rwanda.”

She also claimed the bill it leaves the government open to injunctions by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which helped block last year’s planned Rwanda flight. “As it stands Rule 39 [injunctions] will block flights,” Ms Braverman said.

Braverman suggest Sunak is lying about Rwanda’s concerns over bill

Sacked home secretary Suella Braverman has piled even more pressure on Rishi Sunak – attacking his “rather strange” claim that a tougher bill would have caused the deal with Rwanda to collapse.

Suggesting the PM was not telling the truth, she told the Sunday Telegraph: “I’ve been to Rwanda several times and I have spoken to the Rwandan government a lot. It never once raised any kind of concerns like this.”

Ms Braverman said the bill “not fit for purpose” because of the “gaping holes” she believes it leaves open for legal challenges.

Backing Robert Jenrick’s claim that the bill leaves open legal challenges by individual asylum seekers, Ms Braverman said: “There will be individual claims brought by every person who is put on the first flight to Rwanda.”

She also claimed the bill it leaves the government open to injunctions by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which helped block last year’s planned Rwanda flight. “As it stands Rule 39 [injunctions] will block flights,” Ms Braverman said.

Iain Duncan Smith wants ‘jungle’ of Tory infighting to stop

Sir Iain Duncan Smith has appealed to MPs to end their in-fighting over the Rwanda bill and discuss the issue “in a reasonable way”.

The former Tory leader suggested that he wanted to support Rishi Sunak’s plan – but said he would wait to hear the legal verdict of the “star chamber” convened by the Tory right.

He said on GB News: “The truth is, we do a lot of shouting at the moment and I wish we’d stop shouting and just literally discuss these things in a reasonable way.

“I’ve been in the jungle now for 32 years, it’s called parliament. And frankly, that is worse than any insect bites you can possibly get.”

“So there’s good stuff in [the bill] and it’s a good attempt to do this. The question is whether on the margins that brings the exact results or unexpected consequences and so I’ve held my own counsel. I want to see what the final report of these lawyers.”

Asked if he thought flights to Rwanda would take off before the next general election, he said: “I think we have to. I think it is wholly feasible.”

Rwanda president Kagame is ‘like Putin of Africa’, says Bill Browder

The president of Rwanda “is like the Putin of Africa”, anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder has said.

The head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign told the BBC: “Everyone’s ignoring the elephant in the room which is Rwanda. So, the president of Rwanda Paul Kagame is like the Putin of Africa.”

Mr Browder used the example of Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager hero on whom the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda was based, who in 2021 was sentenced to 25 years in prison in Rwanda on terrorism charges. He was released after serving two years and returned to the US, where he now lives.

Mr Browder added: “The idea that we’re going to be sending political refugees to a country that’s like that is just absurd. The whole thing should be torn up and thrown out.”

Rwanda president Paul Kagame like ‘Putin of Africa’, Bill Browder claims

The anti-corruption campaigner said the whole Rwanda plan should be ‘torn up’.

Sunak’s government ‘in desperate dying days’, says Labour

Shadow work and pensions secretary Liz Kendall has been quizzed about Labour’s migration policies on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

Asked about the new £38,000 minimum salary threshold the government proposes for skilled workers, Ms Kendall refused to say what figure the Labour Party would set but said they had called for a raise in the previous limit of £18,600.

“It really does feel like the desperate dying days of this government. Labour understands it is a serious issue dealing with this,” she said.

“My concern is this endless merry-go-round of bills being put forward by the government means we’re not going to deal with an issue which is really important for the country.”

Analysis | And they’re off: Kemi Badenoch takes an early lead in the Tory leadership stakes

In his latest column, our chief political commentator John Rentoul notes that there was not one but two articles by Conservative leadership candidates in the newspapers on Saturday. He writes:

Kemi Badenoch, the business secretary, had an article in The Sun saying Brexit was a vote of confidence in the country. And Robert Jenrick, described by the online version of The Daily Telegraph as “immigration minister”, which was his job until Wednesday, has written a longer version of his resignation letter.

The collapse in Tory discipline has been so rapid that someone who is well connected to what he calls “the party in the shires” has mentioned Bob Hawke to me. This is code between us for a late change of leadership before an election, which is what the Australian Labor Party did in 1983. After the election was called, it ditched Bill Hayden, its uninspiring leader, and put Hawke in. He went on to win not just that election but three more.

That late switch was made in opposition, but it can be done in government. Anthony Eden went to the country immediately on taking office in April 1955, and in that election increased the Tory majority from 17 to 60. Boris Johnson is the only other recent example, managing to convince his opponents to give him the election he wanted three months after he became leader in 2019.

This time, the Conservatives changing leader yet again would look desperate and is likely only to make matters worse for the MPs who would have to make it happen. Even if, in the abstract, they thought that a fresh face might help to save a few seats, the process of making the change could only further damage the party’s reputation.

You can read his analysis in full here:

And they’re off: Kemi Badenoch leads in the Tory leadership stakes | John Rentoul

It is a measure of Rishi Sunak’s weakness that the contest to replace him is in full swing, writes John Rentoul

Labour steps up criticism of Israel and demands travel bans for violent West Bank settlers

Labour has demanded that ministers impose travel bans on Israelis responsible for settler violence in the West Bank while criticising the “intolerable” death toll in Gaza, reports Sam Blewett.

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy urged the Government to provide greater assistance to humanitarian organisations supporting Palestinians.

In a hardening of Labour’s tone, he argued in an article for the Observer that “too often, Israeli authorities have turned a blind eye to settler violence”.

He also criticised two hardline Israeli ministers for their “totally unacceptable” support for settlers while promoting “dangerous and extreme rhetoric about Palestinians”.

Labour demands travel bans for perpetrators of settler violence in West Bank

The shadow foreign secretary was writing after visiting a Bedouin community in the West Bank.

Tory MPs plotting to remove Sunak ‘mad or malicious’, says One Nation leader

Damian Green, chair of the One Nation wing of Tory moderates, had a warning some of the right-wing rebels believed to have pounced on the Rwanda issue as a way to get rid of Rishi Sunak.

“Anyone who thinks that what the Conservative party or the country needs is a change of prime minister is either mad or malicious or both,” he told BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg.

Mr Green added: “It is a very, very small number doing that [plotting to oust Mr Sunak] – a vanishing small number.”

Tory MPs planning ‘Advent of ‘s***’ for Sunak plotting Johnson-Farage ‘dream ticket’, report claims

Dissatisfied Tory MPs are planning what they call “an Advent calendar of s***” for Rishi Sunak, and are still attempting to plot Boris Johnson’s return as prime minister – and are mulling a “dream ticket” leadership bid with Nigel Farage, according to the Mail on Sunday.

The paper claims to have spoken to multiple Tory MPs who believe “crashing” Mr Sunak’s government and bringing back the ex-PM is their only hope of surviving electoral oblivion – and that MPs have privately urged Mr Johnson and Mr Farage to talk.

One outlandish suggestion is that a former Johnson ally, such as Priti Patel, could be installed as a caretaker PM before he is parachuted back into No 10 via a safe seat, while the paper floats the idea that a deal could be struck with Mr Farage’s Reform party by handing him and its leader Richard Tice peerages and ministerial roles

One Red Wall MP reportedly said: “I came out early to say he had to go. But I think we have to think outside the box now. Whatever you feel about him, one thing no one can question is his effectiveness as a campaigner. And we need that now, we’re staring at obliteration.”

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