36-Hour Campaign Launched to Win Conservative Backbenchers Over Illegal Immigration Plan
Ministers are embarking on a 36-hour campaign to persuade Conservative backbenchers to support Rishi Sunak’s plan to address illegal immigration. The Prime Minister is orchestrating meetings with MPs from the right wing of the party, while others are scheduled for briefings with the Home Secretary. The aim is to minimize opposition to legislation intended to enable the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda. No 10 aides have been actively distributing legal advice to potential rebels, asserting that the proposed bill is “as tough as it can possibly be without contravening international treaty obligations.” The insider revealed, “A lot of MPs are serious people who want to review the evidence and read the legal advice. We need to enter the upcoming election showing that we’ve taken action. Letting the perfect be the enemy of the good would mean not doing anything before the election.”
Challenges Faced in Winning Support
Despite the efforts of the Government, dozens of backbenchers have expressed reluctance to endorse the proposed law. The New Conservatives group conveyed that more than 40 colleagues emphasized the need for significant amendments to the bill. This resistance presents a challenge to the Government’s strategy and underlines the difficulty in garnering unified support for the legislation.
Call for Firmness and Consequences
Some members of the Conservative Party are urging Rishi Sunak to remain resolute in his position, emphasizing that a middle-of-the-road approach is the most realistic. However, there are calls for the Prime Minister to adopt a more assertive stance with rebellious MPs. An ex-minister criticized the concern among backbenchers, asserting that the policy could jeopardize the stability of the Government and advocating for a firmer approach.
Warnings and Response from Influential Figures
Various influential individuals within the Conservative Party have warned MPs about the potential consequences of not passing the bill. William Hague, the former Conservative leader, cautioned that failure to support the bill could result in the party’s shift to opposition. Meanwhile, Home Secretary James Cleverly expressed the Government’s determination to ensure the bill’s passage.
Concerns and Disagreements
Former immigration minister Robert Jenrick, who resigned in protest over the bill, has raised concerns and disagreements with the proposed legislation. He accused ministers of presenting misleading arguments and highlighted potential flaws in the legal and operational aspects of the bill. His stance has attracted both support and opposition, reflecting the internal divisions and reservations regarding the bill.