Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, faces a critical juncture in his leadership as he navigates challenges from both the left and right factions of his Conservative Party over his prominent asylum policy.

Scheduled to appear before a COVID-19 inquiry and facing a crucial parliamentary vote on his initiative to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda, Sunak, in just over a year as prime minister, is grappling to sustain his authority. Members from both ends of the political spectrum within the Conservative Party are threatening to oppose his flagship asylum plan.

The parliament is set for an initial vote on Tuesday regarding legislation that seeks to override certain human rights laws, aiming to facilitate the commencement of deportation flights to Rwanda before the anticipated national election next year.

This proposed law encounters resistance from moderate Conservative politicians concerned about potential breaches of human rights obligations and from right-wing lawmakers pushing for more aggressive government actions. Legal counsel is being sought by both factions before determining their voting stance.

For Sunak, striving to revitalize a fragile UK economy and trailing significantly behind the main opposition party in polls, the Rwanda policy has become a defining issue for his government, despite legal experts consistently stating its impracticality.

The UK’s Supreme Court declared the plan unlawful last month, emphasizing the risk genuine refugees would face if returned to their home countries, violating British and international law.

The government has allocated around a quarter of a billion pounds to this scheme, aiming to deter the influx of tens of thousands, including individuals from Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, arriving on England’s south coast via small boats from France.

Sunak’s uncertainty about potential parliamentary rebellion is evident in his decision not to make it a confidence vote, as losing such a vote could lead to calls for a general election. However, his leadership could be severely compromised if any vote on the legislation is lost, with only 29 Conservative MPs needed to rebel to defeat the government.

While there are rumors of colleagues plotting a leadership challenge and concerns about the UK reneging on international commitments, the larger threat to Sunak lies in the parliamentary struggles over the Rwanda policy. The upcoming vote on amendments after Christmas is anticipated to be a more significant battleground.

The Conservative Party, once known for political stability, could face its sixth prime minister in just over seven years if Sunak were to be ousted, a situation not seen since the 1830s. The party’s chairman, Richard Holden, emphasized the potential chaos of removing Sunak, stating it would be “insanity.” Some party members caution against destabilizing moves, emphasizing the importance of unity in politics as a team game to avoid potential defeat in the next election.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *