The Rwanda battle is returning to parliament. On Tuesday, Penny Mordaunt confirmed that the ‘Safety of Rwanda’ Bill will go to committee stage in the House of Commons next week. This means MPs will have two days to add and debate amendments to it. Given Rishi Sunak had to fight to even pass it at second reading (the last time the government lost a Bill at this stage was 1986 on Sunday trading), this will be a difficult process. Effectively Sunak is facing competing demands from the left and right of his party.
On the one side are the One Nation MPs who feel that, if anything, the current Bill is too tough and goes too far in stretching the limits of international law. This group largely held their nose and voted for it last time around – the Bill declares that Rwanda is a safe place to send illegal migrants and states that international laws including the Human Rights Convention will have no effect. They say they will only put up with their side of the bargain if the right of the party plays ball. As One Nation MP Matt Warman put it last night, their current position is that the Bill should not be amended:
We know that we can’t rewrite our international obligations for our sole self-interest. We have faith that Britain is who we are because it can take a leading role in the world, rebuilding institutions like the ECHR from within – institutions that we helped to build in the first place. We know that the government is at its best when its bravest legislation is on the right side of international law, unamended.
However, the right of the party wants changes and plans to table a series of amendments to toughen up the Bill when it comes to overriding international law.