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UK PM Sunak Reportedly to Face Tory Rebellion Over 'Too Anemic' Illegal Migration Bill

© AP Photo / Leon NealBritain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during a press conference following the launch of new legislation on migrant channel crossings at Downing Street, London, Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during a press conference following the launch of new legislation on migrant channel crossings at Downing Street, London, Tuesday, March 7, 2023.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2023
As Britain struggles to tackle the huge numbers of asylum seekers trying to reach its shores via the English Channel, Rishi Sunak's government has set out as one of its priorities pushing through legislation to "stop the boats," or the Illegal Migration Bill, presented in the House of Commons by Home Secretary Suella Braverman earlier in the month.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is reportedly gearing up to face a Tory rebellion over the Illegal Migration Bill, which will be up for a spate of debates and votes early next week.
The legislation fast-tracked by Sunak, who has pledged to “stop the boats” amid an overwhelming surge in illegal migrant crossings via the English Channel, is being denounced by critics as "anemic," UK outlets reported. Over 50 pages of amendments have ostensibly been tabled to the bill so that it might be "toughened up."
The bill allows London to ban migrants, who enter the United Kingdom illegally in small boats or hidden in the back of lorries, from claiming asylum, and paves the way for their relocation to their home country or a "safe" third country such as Rwanda. Asylum in the UK will only be granted in exceptional cases and within a yearly quota. The legislation was introduced to the House of Commons on March 7 by Secretary of State for the Home Department Suella Braverman and is now facing the committee stage in the House of Commons on March 27 and 28.
However, an estimated 60 Conservative MPs could allegedly throw their support behind an amendment that would block rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg to grant injunctions stopping the migrant deportations. Tabled by Danny Kruger, formerly Boris Johnson’s political secretary, the amendment argues the need to ensure that ECHR judges cannot intervene in the relocation of such illegal arrivals.

"Danny is trying to carve out the ECHR. The government legal service might say we would be expelled from the Council of Europe — so be it," one ex-Cabinet minister was cited as saying.

However, according to a No 10 source, Rishi Sunak does not intend to accept any amendments that would presuppose overlooking rulings by Strasbourg.
“Our view is that the bill as it stands goes far enough. There is no majority in the Commons to leave the ECHR, and no mandate to do it. Most importantly, we don’t need to do it to stop the boats,” the insider was cited as saying.
People thought to be migrants who undertook the crossing from France in small boats and were picked up in the Channel, arrive to be disembarked from a small transfer boat which ferried them from a larger British border force vessel that didn't come into the port, in Dover, south east England, Friday, June 17, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.03.2023
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Other Tory-supported changes to the bill reportedly demand legal safe routes for migrants and support for victims of modern slavery. There are other amendments, added the report, such as the Labour Party's proposals, tabled by MP for Sheffield Hallam Olivia Blake, regarding fast-tracking asylum claims from "safe" countries.
“They are not going as far as they should have gone. In six months’ time, when the problem isn’t sorted, the public will be given a real idea of who to blame when the prime minister fails on his pledge to stop the boats,” a source was cited as saying.
A photograph taken on February 28, 2023 shows parts of a migrants boat, washed on the beach, two day after it sank off Italy's southern Calabria region, in Steccato di Cutro, south of Crotone - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.03.2023
Sunak: Law Banning Boat Migrants From Seeking Asylum in UK 'Tough But Necessary'
Reports of rebel Tories demanding that the proposed migrant legislation be "toughened up" come after the bill was earlier repeatedly slammed by the opposition and various human rights organizations. Some argue that forced relocation will not be effective in preventing illegal migration to the UK, while others say the bill violates human rights, is authoritarian, and is "pushing the boundaries" of existing treaty commitments.
They have put forward a bill and they relished an argument with [Gary] Lineker and the left who branded it as authoritarian. But now they’re going to have a row with the right about how wet they’re being, and actually that is all the public at home is going to hear," one Tory rebel told a UK outlet. Reference here was made to the so-called Linekergate row.
Veteran football presenter Gary Lineker was suspended by the British Broadcasting Corporation after he sharply attacked the government’s proposed policy on small boat migration by comparing it to the policies of 1930s Nazi Germany. After fallout from the row, the BBC apologized to the former professional footballer and rolled back its suspension.
Gary Lineker, former England footballer turned sports TV presenter for the BBC, arrives at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on March 11, 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.03.2023
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As speculation mounts regarding No 10's "panic mode” pushback to the plethora of amendments, one source was cited as saying:
"Downing Street is actively panicking. They’re summoning MPs for meetings asking them to withdraw their amendments.”
It is thought that a Tory rebellion over the bill could undermine party unity, while also hurting the Conservatives at the polls in the future. Government-commissioned private polling cited by UK media showed that the public is concerned that measures outlined in the legislation could fall short of effectively addressing the migration problem.
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