Rishi Sunak’s Risky Political Move: The Impact of His New Anti-Immigration Policy

The UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s position is in jeopardy after backlash from his party over his government’s controversial anti-immigration plan. The attempt to cut soaring immigration has been met with the resignation of Robert Jenrick, the UK’s immigration minister, who said the bill does not go far enough. It also threatens to set off a backbench revolt by Tory MPs who believe it is too soft. The UK Prime Minister hopes to pass the legislation before parliament’s holiday break starts next week, but aides say he faces a tough fight.

Sunak’s attempt to deport asylum seekers who cross the Channel in small boats from France was halted by a legal challenge last year, and the Supreme Court ruled it was unlawful, but the PM has now unveiled new plans that are designed to resurrect his “Stop The Boats” promise. The new law will allow the government to disregard sections of the Human Rights Act and European Convention on Human Rights when deciding whether someone should be sent back to their country of origin, denied asylum, or removed from Britain. It will also allow for a rapid and streamlined process to get those who are deported out of the country as soon as possible.

However, some senior Tories are warning that the plan will fail and that the government is rushing to implement it without proper legal advice. The Prime Minister says he will look to include exceptions to the rules, such as women from Iran who refuse to wear the hijab or refugees from war-torn countries who have not yet claimed asylum.

The move seems to pull the Conservative Party in opposite directions due to differences in opinion about how much the UK should be obligated by international law to grant refugee status. The party’s right-wingers, led by the ex-cabinet minister Suella Braverman, are calling for stricter measures, and one source says they may be willing to submit letters of no confidence in the PM’s leadership if he does not push through their legislation.

Other members of the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister, are pushing for a quick vote on the measure, arguing it is vital to keep migrant numbers under control in the run-up to a general election expected next year.

Amid the row, Mr Sunak has urged MPs to back his plans for a fast and robust response to the asylum-seeker crisis. But he has also vowed to make sure the law does not impose “unnecessary burdens on our economy” and insists that a Commons vote is not a matter of confidence in his government, which could allow a handful of rebellious Tory MPs to use the issue to oust the prime minister from power. It would take just 54 Conservative MPs to trigger a no-confidence vote, which Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 committee of backbench Tories, keeps closely guarded. But Mr Sunak’s authority is also undermined by a lack of support from the UK’s liberal-left Labour opposition.

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