The Controversial Rwanda Bill: An Analysis of Political Infighting and Legal Concerns

The Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips programme featured Michael Gove, who conveyed the government’s position on the Rwanda bill. Gove emphasized that an early general election is not being considered because ministers are confident that the bill will be approved by MPs. He described the emergency legislation as a tough but proportionate measure. This signals the government’s determination to address the issue of illegal immigration effectively. Gove also indicated that the government is open to making changes to the draft law, acknowledging the controversy surrounding it.

The Rwanda bill, brought forward by Rishi Sunak, has faced opposition and doubts from members of his own party. Lawyers from the Tory right have argued that the legislation is not sufficiently watertight, potentially allowing illegal migrants to initiate prolonged legal challenges to remain in the UK. The European Research Group expressed concerns that the current wording of the law will fail to achieve its aim of deporting individuals who make the Channel crossing to East Africa. Sir Bill Cash, a Conservative veteran who chaired the “star chamber,” expressed hope that a report would help the government assess whether further amendments are necessary. Moderate Tories are also considering their support for the bill, particularly due to concerns about the requirement to find Rwanda a “safe” country for sending asylum seekers.

Michael Gove responded to criticisms by stating that the government takes the opinions of colleagues, especially those with legal expertise like Sir Bill Cash, seriously. However, he asserted that the government believes the bill to be tough and robust. Comparing it to the Supreme Court judgment, Gove asserted that the bill addresses all the reasons previously used to prevent people from being sent to Rwanda. Former cabinet minister David Davis echoed Gove’s defense of the bill, stating that it is the toughest immigration legislation he has seen. Davis also criticized sacked home secretary Suella Braverman, suggesting that she should take responsibility for the lack of improvement during her tenure.

David Davis advised against maneuvering for a potential future leadership bid, cautioning that those who prioritize their own ambitions over the party’s future often end up losing. This remark highlights the underlying political dynamics within the Conservative Party and the potential implications of differing positions on the Rwanda bill. It is clear that the bill has become a contentious issue, not only due to policy disagreements but also because of the political calculations being made by different factions within the party.

Labour frontbencher Liz Kendall voiced her party’s desire to use the funds allocated to Rwanda for a different plan that can effectively address the issue of illegal immigration. Kendall criticized the government for spending months on a plan that seems to be going around in circles. Despite the divisions within the Tory party, Kendall expressed confidence that the bill would comfortably pass its first parliamentary hurdle.

The Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips programme also touched upon the exchange of accusations between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party regarding illegal migration. Rishi Sunak criticized Labour’s policy on illegal migration, while Sir Keir Starmer accused the Conservatives of “fighting like rats in a sack.” This ongoing political battle underscores the contentious and polarizing nature of the issue at hand.

The analysis of the government’s stance, Conservative infighting, legal concerns, and political dynamics surrounding the Rwanda bill sheds light on the complexity of the situation. The conflicting opinions within the Conservative Party and the criticism from opposition parties indicate the challenges faced by the government in passing this legislation. As the bill heads to its first vote in the Commons, it remains to be seen how these dynamics will play out and whether any amendments will be made to address the concerns raised.


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