James Cleverly hits back at absolutely wrong suggestion by Kay Burley

James Cleverly says Labour doesn’t want Rwanda plan to work

James Cleverly insisted it is “absolutely wrong” to say that some Tory MPs do not want the Rwanda Bill to work.

The Home Secretary said the Conservative Party was “united” in wanting to get the emergency legislation right amid the threat of rebellions by right-wingers.

He also accused Labour of trying to thwart the Bill after the party put forward an amendment seeking to decline to give it a second reading.

Mr Cleverly told Sky News: “What we will always oppose is wrecking amendments like we saw from Keir Starmer because the Labour Party don’t want this to work.”

But host Kay Burley put it to him that “quite a lot of Tories don’t want it to work”.

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Mr Cleverly replied: “No, this is absolutely wrong. The Conservative Party is united on the desire to get this right to stop the boats.

“The Labour Party’s position is to try and wreck it and they have said even if it were working they would still stop it.”

Rishi Sunak last night won a crunch vote on the Safety of Rwanda Bill after spending the day attempting to quell a rebellion by right-wing Tories.

MPs approved the Bill at second reading by 313 votes to 269, a majority of 44.

Former home secretary Suella Braverman and ex-immigration minister Robert Jenrick, who resigned last week following the publication of the draft legislation, were among the high-profile Conservative MPs to defy a three-line whip to vote in support of the Government and abstain.

But the Prime Minister faces a potential New Year showdown after would-be rebels said they could vote down the emergency legislation when it returns to the Commons if it is not toughened up.

A Tory rebel source said: “This Bill has been allowed to live another day.

“But without amendments, it will be killed next month. It is now up to the Government to decide what it wants to do.”

The Bill is aimed at reviving the Rwanda scheme after the Supreme Court last month ruled it was unlawful.

It allows ministers to disapply the Human Rights Act but does not go as far as overriding the European Convention on Human Rights, something which Conservative hardliners have urged is needed for the policy to be enacted.

Mr Sunak said the victory in the Commons for the Bill would pave the way for him to deliver his pledge of stopping small boats.

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