Lee Anderson resigns as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party in protest against the Rwanda Bill

  • Written by Becky Morton and Harrison Jones
  • Political reporter

Image source, Getty Images

Comment on the photo,

Lee Anderson is the Conservative MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire

Two Conservative Party deputy chairs and a cabinet aide have resigned to rebel against Rishi Sunak's Rwanda Bill.

Vice-presidents Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith resigned, joining about 60 Conservative MPs supporting an amendment that the rebels said would tighten immigration legislation.

Although Sunak is suffering his biggest rebellion since becoming prime minister, No 10 remains confident that the bill as a whole will pass in a vote scheduled for Wednesday.

If about 30 conservatives join the opposition in voting against the bill, it may fail.

At least four Conservative MPs – including former ministers Robert Jenrick and Suella Braverman – have said publicly they are willing to vote against the bill if it is not improved, with reports that more may join them.

Even a government victory will come at a political cost, with debates on the issue revealing the extent of divisions within the Conservative Party.

The legislation seeks to revive the government's plan to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda and deter people from crossing the canal in small boats.

Jane Stevenson, parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Business and Trade, also confirmed she had offered her resignation after voting in favor of the rebel amendments.

In a joint resignation letter, Anderson and Clarke-Smith said they had previously argued that “safeguards” were needed to ensure the legislation was “watertight”.

“So it is important in terms of credibility that we are consistent with this,” they added.

Conservative MPs said they supported the rebel amendments to the Rwanda bill “not because we are against the legislation, but because like everyone else we want it to succeed.”

Anderson told GB News that although most of the bill was “sound”, it needed to be “strengthened”.

He added: “I cannot be in a position to vote for something I do not believe in.”

Asked whether he would vote against the bill as a whole on Wednesday, he said: “We'll see what happens over the next 24 hours.

“There are a lot of discussions that will take place behind closed doors.”

Anderson and Clark-Smith both represent so-called “red wall” seats previously held by Labour, and have been outspoken about the need to tackle illegal immigration.

With strong support from the right of the party, there was speculation that the Prime Minister would choose not to sack them because they hold party, not government, positions.

But in their letter, they acknowledge that their “important roles” mean they are bound by collective responsibility, so they are expected to vote with the government or resign.

Labor said the resignations showed Sunak was “too weak to lead his party and too weak to lead the country”.

Butt, the party's national campaign co-ordinator, said: “These resignations show that even senior Tories believe the Conservatives have failed, and are further evidence of the total disarray the Tories are in over their failed Rwanda stunt – and yet they still make the taxpayers money.” “They pay a high price.” McFadden said.

A Downing Street source said: “This is the most difficult legislation ever brought before Parliament to tackle illegal immigration.

“This bill would make clear that if you come here illegally, you can't stay.

“We must pass this bill to achieve what all conservatives want – a credible plan to stop the boating.”

Image source, board of the Public

Comment on the photo,

Robert Jenrick led the right-wing Conservative Party's effort to rewrite the Rwanda bill

Sir Bill's motion, which aimed to prevent any international law from being used to prevent someone being deported to Rwanda, was defeated by 529 votes to 68.

Senior Conservative Party members, including former Home Secretary Ms Braverman, former Prime Minister Liz Truss and former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, were among those who voted in favor of the resolution.

Former Cabinet Minister Sir Simon Clarke said he would vote against the legislation if it was not amended, declaring it was “that simple”.

Miriam Kates, co-chair of the Neo-Conservative coalition of Tory MPs, told the BBC she would “probably be prepared” to vote against the bill, and urged the government to “tighten it” ahead of any vote on Wednesday.

European Research Group chair Mark Francois and Danny Kruger, who is also co-chair of the New Conservatives, also refused to rule out a vote against the resolution.

But speaking on Sky News, former First Foreign Secretary Damian Green, a member of the moderate Conservative One Nation group, urged his colleagues to support the legislation on Wednesday.

He said Tuesday's show of defiance was the “high water mark” for the rebellion, and said a “rational” approach would be to support legislation “that moves the dial in the direction they want it to move.”

Meanwhile, Mr Jenrick's amendment was also rejected by 525 votes to 58.

Under his proposal, people could still appeal their deportation to Rwanda, but only after they have been deported.

See also  Flight worker forced into unpaid leave due to COVID vaccine mandate vows fight 'isn't over' at L.A. rally

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *