‘Where is the immigration minister?’ MPs claim Robert Jenrick has quit

Friends of Rishi Sunak’s immigration minister believe he has quit in protest over the Rwanda Bill to get deportation flights off the ground.

Speculation was fueled when he failed to appear in the Commons for this evening’s statement presenting the Bill which was made by Home Secretary James Cleverly.

Earlier friends confirmed he was “teetering” over resigning after the Bill was in effect watered down in the eyes of some critics and allowed for potential legal challenges.

As rumours began to spread, one source close to Mr Jenrick said: “It looks like he has resigned but is not comfirmed yet.”

Another MP from the New Conservatives told Express.co.uk: “Robert has resigned, he has told a colleague, it just has not been announced yet.”

READ MORE: Sunak has got days to save his premiership – and one MP will decide his fate

Mr Cleverly presented the Bill with a grim looking Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sat next to him and Attorney General Victoria Prentis on the other side. Mr Jenrick had been supposed to present the Bill but was absent from the front bench having been spotted earlier “looking very unhappy” according to sources.

One MP messaged: “Where is the Immigration Minister? Has he resigned. He should be here if not.”

If he has quit it will be a massive blow to Mr Sunak and the loss of a minister who for years was one of his closest political friends and allies.

It is also likely to trigger letters calling for a vote of confidence in his leadership.

Throughout the statement Labour MPs could be heard heckling “where’s Robert?” as they appeared to smell blood.

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Last night Express.co.uk revealed that allies of Suella Braverman believed that Jenrick resigning could “have a cascading effect” which will lead to a vote of confidence in Rishi Sunak’s leadership.

It is not certain yet if he would endorse Ms Braverman or an alternative as leader but friends have said his experience of the Home Office “radicalised” Mr Jenrick and “moved him to the right” politically.

Ironically, Mr Jenrick was originally made immigration minister to “control” Ms Braverman but now appears to be a close ally.

It is understood that Mr Jenrick has had almost daily conversations with Ms Braverman and her allies sinch she was sacked as Home Secretary.

MPs on the right are unhappy that the emergency legislation leaves it open for illegal migrants to make challenges in court to deportation flights.

Earlier, Ms Braverman made a personal statement to the House where she warned the Prime Minister that he had to act with an added threat that she ould “would not stand by” if he led the party to “oblivion.”

Reacting to the Rwanda Bill, a source close to Suella Braverman said: “This bill doesn’t come close to meeting Suella’s tests. The Prime Minister has kept the ability for every single illegal migrant to make individual human rights claims against their removal and to then appeal those claims if they don’t succeed at first.

“It is fatally flawed. It will be bogged down in the courts for months and months. And it won’t stop the boats. It is a further betrayal of Tory voters and the decent patriotic majority who want to see this insanity brought to an end.”

But a government source hit back: “

it comes to delivering for the British people it’s tricky for sources close to Suella to accept they spent 14 months either talking about what to do or the reasons they couldn’t do things or blaming others for why they couldn’t do things.

“And in 3 weeks things have been done by someone else who just gets on and does them. That is understandably tricky for them to accept.”

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