Two British Conservative Party vice-presidents resign over Sunak's Rwanda plan

The “Prime Minister” Rishi Sunak had proposed making the Rwanda plan the centerpiece of his term in office, recognizing the importance that the migration issue has for his party and the electorate. But the implementation of the controversial program to return irregularly entered asylum seekers to the African country is stalling to such an extent that its leadership is increasingly being questioned.

The two vice-presidents of the Conservative Party –Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke Smith– They submitted their resignation last night and believe that the plan should be tightened up so that those arriving by boat across the Channel cannot escape deportation.

Both had announced that they would support the amendments introduced yesterday in the House of Commons by the insurgent “Tories” to toughen the bill. And half an hour before the vote, they submitted their letter of resignation before being fired. The amendments were supported by more than 50 Tory rebels.among them Jane Stevenson, right-hand man of the Minister for Economy and Trade, Kemi Badenochwho also submitted his resignation by challenging the government.

It represents a major blow to Sunak, whose authority is increasingly eroding ahead of a general election scheduled for the second half of 2024. After more than thirteen years in power All polls predict the end of the Tory era. The Conservatives are facing an election defeat on the scale of their loss to Labor in 1997, according to the latest YouGov poll, which predicts the biggest fall in support for a governing party since 1906. with a vote swing of 11.5 percent in favor of the Labor Party.

The fact that the polls predict that virtually all Tory MPs are of the so-called Red Wall – including former vice-presidents of the formation – doesn't help. This means that some of these MPs see a personal incentive to support the rebel amendments so that they can tell their voters that they are on their side, even if the government is not. The Red Wall districts are traditionally Labor districts, but in 2019 the Tories – then led by Boris Johnson – managed to wrest many of these constituencies from Labor with their pro-Brexit and anti-immigration message.

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The controversial bill will continue in the House of Commons this Wednesday. Parliamentarians must vote on whether to move on to the next phase. And if the insurgent “Tories” are against it, the Prime Minister will have a more than complicated situation.

The controversial immigration plan was originally announced in April 2020 by the then Prime Minister. Boris Johnson. However, due to judicial intervention, no plane has yet managed to take off for Rwanda. Late last year, the UK Supreme Court followed the European Court of Human Rights in rejecting the measure as unlawful.

Sunak then had to make a new pact with Kigali with changes to ensure that “people displaced into Rwanda do not risk being sent back to a country where their lives or freedom are threatened”. But the new bill does not convince the various groups of its creation for different reasons. While moderates believe this goes too far, the hard core argues that withdrawing the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights is the only way to prevent deportation policy from being obstructed by judges again.

Last December, after days of high tension, Sunak still managed to keep the bill alive the abstinence of the hard core from training, in a vote that had effectively become a vote of confidence in his leadership as prime minister. But now the hard wing of the Conservative Party is back with a series of threats of rebellion that are cornering an increasingly discredited leader.

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