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Suella Braverman says Rwanda law ‘will fail’ as she urges government to ‘change course’

Suella Braverman has said this morning that the government’s Rwanda bill, announced by home secretary James Cleverly yesterday, will “fail”.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4 she said that while “there are elements that should be welcomed in this new bill”, taken as a whole it “will not stop the boats”. 

“That’s my opinion having read it in the last 12/24 hours”, she said

Braverman continued: “Looking at the wording of the bill, there are clear sections which allow a whole raft of individual claims to be made by people that we might seek to remove to Rwanda. They will be able to bring those claims through the courts via judicial review. 

“They will be able to challenge the decisions made by the secretary of state and those those challenges could take months, and potentially sometimes years.”

“I very much hope that the prime minister changes course. I very much hope that he takes on board the kind of observations that people are making about the content of this bill.

“There is still time to change this bill, it is going to go through parliament and scrutiny. I very much urge him to encourage a receptive attitude to some of the changes that people are suggesting.”

She added: “Ultimately this bill will fail. I’m just being honest about where we are. We’ve put two acts of parliament through already. We’ve done huge amounts of work to stop this problem and it’s not worked. We cannot afford to put forward another bill that is destined to fail.”

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Asked whether she could challenge Rishi Sunak’s leadership over the bill, she said: “No ones talking about changing the leadership”.

Pressed on this point, she added: “I want the prime minister to succeed in stopping the boats. He said he would do whatever it takes.”

It comes after the former home secretary gave a speech to the House of Commons yesterday in which she warned the Conservative Party of “electoral oblivion” if in fails on the Rwanda plan. 

She told MPs: “It is now or never. The Conservative Party faces electoral oblivion in a matter of months if we introduce yet another bill destined to fail.

“Do we fight for sovereignty? Or do we let our party die? Now, I may not have always found the right words in the past, Madam Deputy Speaker, but I refuse to sit by and allow us to fail”, she added.

‘Now or never’: Braverman says Conservative Party faces ‘electoral oblivion’ if Rwanda bill fails

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris was asked this morning whether it is possible that the UK could end up receiving refugees from Rwanda before anyone is deported to the African nation.

“I honestly do not know the answer to that question”, he responded.

Pressed by BBC Breakfast on whether that scenario was “possible”, he replied: “No, I said I don’t know the answer to that question.

Writing on X (formerly Twitter), former cabinet minister Sir John Redwood said: “The proposed small boats legislation needs to stop the boats as promised. The will of Parliament to stop this evil trade needs to be effectively expressed to any court that might wish to disagree”.

Former cabinet minister Sir Simon Clarke has also warned that Robert Jenrick’s departure as immigration minister is “very concerning”.

The senior MP said: “Very sorry, and concerned, to see Rob Jenrick leave government this evening.

Sir Simon said the question now is “simply will this legislation work”.

On Wednesday, chairman of the right-wing European Research Group (ERG) of Conservative MPs, said: “If the immigration minister, who is a good man, has resigned over this bill that is deeply worrying.”

And former minister Andrea Jenkyns, an ardent Boris Johnson loyalist, said Jenrick’s resignation “may be the death knell for Sunak’s leadership”.

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