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One Nation Tory MPs will vote for Sunak’s Rwanda bill

News of the One Nation group’s decision will be a boost to Rishi Sunak
News of the One Nation group’s decision will be a boost to Rishi Sunak - Hannah McKay/Reuters

The One Nation group of Tory MPs has said it will vote for Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda legislation despite “concerns”.

Damian Green, the chairman of the group, said: “We have taken the decision that the most important thing at this stage is to support the Bill despite our real concerns.

“We strongly urge the Government to stand firm against any attempt to amend the Bill in a way that would make it unacceptable to those who believe that support for the rule of law is a basic Conservative principle.”

The centrist group represents at least 106 Conservative MPs, with key figures including Alicia Kearns, who chairs the foreign affairs committee.

The news will be a boost to Mr Sunak, who has faced pressure from the Right of his party to pull the legislation ahead of a vote on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters outside a One Nation meeting, Mr Green warned that the Government must “stick to its guns”, saying: “We support the Bill unamended, but if anyone brings forward any amendments that breach our international obligations or breach the rule of law, we vote against those amendments at future stages.

“We will vote with the Government tomorrow, but we want the Government to stick to its guns and stick to the text of this Bill.”

Some had speculated that factions such as the European Research Group, led by Mark Francois, a former Armed Forces minister, could back the legislation and then seek to amend it further down the line.

However, the group’s “star chamber” of legal experts said the Bill as it stands “does not go far enough”, and members of the group appear to have hardened their stance against it.

Mr Francois told broadcasters on Monday afternoon: “The feeling very much in the [ERG] meeting is that the Government would be best advised to pull the Bill and to come up with a revised version that works better than this one, which has so many holes in it.”

He said the existing Bill would be “quite difficult to amend” and it would be “far better to withdraw the Bill and come up with something which is much better written right from the word go”.

David Jones, the deputy chairman of the ERG and a member of the “star chamber”, echoed the call and said No10 should “consider a completely new piece of legislation”.

The news came as Robert Jenrick, who resigned as the immigration minister last week, said the bill was “fundamentally flawed” if individuals could appeal against being sent to Rwanda.

He wrote on Twitter: “If individual claims are permitted everyone will make one, the court backlog will balloon, our detention capacity will become overwhelmed within days, people will simply be bailed, and new arrivals will simply abscond. The proposed Bill is both legally and operationally fundamentally flawed.”

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