Robert Jenrick to ‘actively consider’ voting against Rwanda Bill if amendments defeated

Robert Jenrick has said he will “actively consider” voting against the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill when it reaches its final commons stage if it is not amended to his liking.

The former immigration minister, who resigned over his objections to the legislation in December, has tabled amendments alongside veteran rebel Sir Bill Cash to “toughen up” the government’s approach.

The Rwanda bill faces its committee stage in the House of Commons today and tomorrow when MPs will have the chance to vote on proposed amendments.

The bill will then have to clear a vote at third reading, which will likely come tomorrow, in order for it to be sent to the House of Lords for further scrutiny.

Former home secretary Suella Braverman has already said she will vote against the Rwanda Bill if there are “no improvements”.

Sir Simon Clarke, a former cabinet minister under Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, has also vowed to vote against the plan. 

The rebel amendments are backed by 63 MPs, including Conservative Party deputy chairs Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith.

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The prime minister is under pressure to sack the pair.

Asked if he could vote against at third reading, Robert Jenrick told GB News: “I hope the Government will move and produce amendments that create a Bill that will actually work.

“If they won’t, then I’ve been clear that I’m not going to support the Bill. And I’ll actively consider voting against it. Because all that matters is what works, and I’m not going to support a Bill that doesn’t work.”

Writing on X/Twitter last night, Lee Anderson said: “The Rwanda Bill.

“I have signed the Cash & Jenrick amendments.

“I will vote for them”.

His fellow Conservative Party deputy chairman Brendan Clarke-Smith wrote: “When I was elected in 2019 I promised my constituents we would take back control. I want this legislation to be as strong as possible and therefore I will be supporting the Jenrick/Cash amendments. 

“These are arguments I have consistently made and will continue to make”.

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Mel Stride, the Work and Pensions Secretary, refused to be drawn this morning on whether Anderson and Clarke-Smith should continue in their roles as deputy chairmen of the Conservative Party if they make good on their word and rebel against the government.

Asked if the pair could continue in their official party roles if they voted for the amendments, Stride told Times Radio this morning: “These aren’t decisions for me.”

He said that he understands “why people feel very strongly about this”.

He also urged MPs to unite around the bill, again telling Times Radio: “We can argue about exactly the best form that that should take. And the Government has been in listening mode.

“But at the end of the day, we need to unite behind our clear plan to get the deterrent in place and to stop those boats, as opposed to allowing the opposite to prevail which is Keir Starmer with absolutely no plan, which is going to lead to a kind of open border situation and these problems getting an awful lot worse.”

Senior Conservative suggests Rwanda bill rebels are ‘betraying’ party traditions is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.