Rishi Sunak has 48 hours to save his job as Prime Minister with Rwanda Bill rebellion | Politics | News

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Rishi Sunak has 48 hours to save his job as Prime Minister with Rwanda Bill rebellion | Politics | News

The timing of the YouGov MRP poll of 14,000 people could not have been worse for Rishi Sunak – its prediction of a Conservative wipeout worse than any in the 345-year history of the party appeared to confirm the worst fears of almost every Tory MP in Westminster.

Veteran pollster Andrew Hawkins, who has previously worked for the Conservatives, told Express.co.uk: « Whatever you think of the methodology or accuracy of the poll it has confirmed that the next election is going to be a rout unless they [the Tories] make a significant change. »

Former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke, whose seat is next to Mr Sunak’s in the north of England and has been discussed as a possible leadership candidate, tweeted: « This result would represent a disaster for the Conservatives and our country. The time for half measures is over. We either deliver on small boats or we will be destroyed. »

Stopping the small boats and illegal immigration generally were identified by researchers as two ongoing issues threatening doom for the Tories.

And it is those very issues that will define Rishi Sunak‘s premiership in the next 48 hours as MPs vote on his new-look Rwanda bill.

This is why Mr Sunak headed off to Southend-on-Sea in Brexiteer Essex to sell his Rwanda Bill to the public.

He wants voters, and Tory MPs, to believe that his Bill will remove the legal obstacles for the deportation flights to East Africa to go ahead.

His problem is that his MPs – or at least the ones on the right of the party – do not believe him.

While the sun was shining on the Prime Minister in the seaside city, the news was raining on his parade.

Nothing more so than the announcement by his previously loyal Deputy Chairmen Lee Anderson and Brendan Clark-Smith that they will back a rebel amendment laid down by Robert Jenrick, who himself reigned as a Home Office minister over the Bill and its weakness before Christmas.

It means that the current list of Tory rebels backing an amendment the government does not want to agree to stands at about 66 with eight Democratic Unionist MPs from Northern Ireland also supporting it.

Even if all 74 stick to their guns, the Prime Minister will win if he chooses to oppose the amendment, however, it is what follows that poses the real danger.

It will only take 29 Tory MPs to vote with Opposition parties to bring the Bill down or a combination of Tory MPs voting against and others abstaining.

A defeat on the third reading of a key flagship piece of legislation would inflict an appalling humiliation on a Prime Minister who is already struggling to stay afloat.

But even if they hold back on the Bill, it takes just 53 Tory MPs to put in letters to ask for a vote of cinfidence in the Prime Minister.

One rebel MP told Express.co.uk: « We are being a bit more nuanced about it than before Christmas. At the moment we are focussing on the Bill and amendments and not shouting about anything else.

« Before Christmas we made it too much about the Prime Minister.

« However, once the Bill is done with whatever the result we will get on to other matters. »

Asked if that included the Prime Minister, the MP simply sdaid: « Yes! »

And you do not need to look far to see the crows beginning to circle the potential corpse of Sunak’s Premiership.

In the next month Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenoch have big dinners at £500 a head in Cambridgeshire. Both are eyeing the big job.

Suella Braverman, the sacked Home Secretary, is working closely with Jenrick in what is now being widely discussed as a leadership ticket backed by at least three of the so called five families on the right with th European Research Group (ERG), Common Sesne Group (CSG) and New Conservatives (NC).

It may also get backing from Ranil Jayawardena and Liz Truss’s Conservative Growth Group while Sir Jake Berry and his Northern Research Group make it clear they too are deeply unhappy.

It then comes back to the big Yougov poll.

As one MP put it: « The problem for him [Sunak] is now that colleagues who thought they were safe are suddenly coming to terms with the unthinkable that their seats could be lost. »

This is most notable in counties like Surrey – historically deep blue seats – where senior figures like Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt are under threat.

Another MP said: « What is the point of carrying on with a leadership which just is not up to it. I think a lot of colleagues now think it cannot get worse and even if it does it is so bad now anything is worth a try. »

Sending in his chief strategist Isaac Levido (a man who has started recruiting Labour operatives for his company in anticipation of a Starmer government), did not help much.

One MP noted: « He was awful presenting. Very nervous and did not hold the room. I think he has actually gotten worse since I saw him do one a few years back where he was mediocre then. »

The biggest issue with a leadership challenge or voting down the Rwanda Bill though is whether MPs « will hold their nerve », as one Tory MP noted. « There’s a lot of talk but when it comes to action they have a habit of kicking the can down the road. »

But nevertheless by Wednesday evening when the third reading of the Rwanda Bill takes place, Mr Sunak will need to have somehow ensure he has won and won in a way which prevents a leadership vote of confidence.

One MP said: « The Prime Minister’s problem – and it is likely he was badly advised by the chief whip – is that he got complacent after winning the Second Reading vote last month.

« He believed the press that the rebellion was just a damp squib but now colleagues are more determined than ever to change this Bill and more are asking questions about whether we should change leader as well. »

Cet article est apparu en premier sur https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1856047/rishi-sunak-48-hours-save-job-pm-comment


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