Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Sunak faces a grilling over his key targets

(Photo: Parliament TV)

Does Rishi Sunak think he’s going to hit his key targets? The Prime Minister had to answer this question repeatedly today after being asked by members of the powerful Liaison Committee. His basic answer was that he was still very committed to the targets – but couldn’t say that he definitely would meet them.

A particularly difficult set of questions came from Home Affairs Select Committee chair Diana Johnson, who grilled him on the details of how his Rwanda deportation policy would stop the boats, as Sunak has promised. The Prime Minister was very keen instead to talk about the agreement the government had struck with Albania, but said he was confident that the government would succeed in its appeal against the Court of Appeal ruling on Rwanda. ‘Our belief remains that the plan that we have is legal, it’s compliant with all our obligations, and we’ll be appealing it vigorously.’

Johnson pointed out that the Rwandan government had said the capacity of the scheme was 500, while more than 8,000 people had come to Britain on small boats. She asked, ‘if we assume your Rwanda policy is upheld in the Supreme Court, Rwanda has said they can take a capacity of 500 people, so that leaves 7,628 who have come across since the bill was introduced, what do you intend will happen to those people?’ The PM replied that he wouldn’t go into the details of a commercial contract, but that the Rwanda scheme was uncapped. He didn’t say this, but ministers are also trying to find other governments who might be interested in similar schemes in their countries – so far without any success.

Sunak then refused to offer a percentage probability on meeting his target to halve inflation. That question came from a member of his own party, Treasury Select Committee chair Harriett Baldwin, who kept asking him how likely it was that he was going to do this by the end of the year.

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Isabel Hardman
Written by
Isabel Hardman
Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator and author of Why We Get the Wrong Politicians. She also presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster.

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