Brexiteer ERG’s ‘Star Chamber’ delivers verdict on Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda Bill

Tory Brexiteers have delivered their verdict on Rishi Sunak’s flagship Rwanda Bill. The European Research Group’s (ERG) so-called “star chamber” of lawyers has been going through the draft legislation with a fine-tooth comb.

The group had already signalled it did not believe the proposed law was fit to get the asylum scheme up and running. In a scathing statement released today, the ERG said: “The Prime Minister may well be right when he claims that this is the ‘toughest piece of migration legislation ever put forward by a UK Government’, but we do not believe that it goes far enough to deliver the policy as intended.

“In summary, the Bill overall provides a partial and incomplete solution to the problem of legal challenges in the UK courts being used as stratagems to delay or defeat the removal of illegal migrants to Rwanda.”

It comes as Rishi Sunak faces the most perilous week of his premiership so far with two warring Tory factions. The One Nation caucus of centrist Conservatives is due to release a statement outlining its position this evening.

The Prime Minister has tried to find a middle ground in response to the Supreme Court ruling that his plan to send asylum seekers who arrive in the UK on small boats is unlawful. His Bill allows ministers to disapply the Human Rights Act, but does not go as far as overriding the European Convention on Human Rights.

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The proposed legislation seeks to allow Parliament to deem Rwanda a “safe” country and block courts and tribunals from considering claims that the country will not act in accordance with the Refugee Convention or other international obligations.

Some on the right of the Conservative Party believe more radical measures are needed to override international law.

But those on the left have concerns about its legal impact and about ordering courts to deem Rwanda a “safe” country.

Defending the Bill on the morning broadcast round, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps insisted it would prevent the vast majority of attempts to use the courts to avoid being sent to the African nation.

He said that the Government’s current assessment is that only one in 200 cases will pass through once the Bill becomes law, following claims the analysis dated back to March.

Mr Shapps said: “My understanding is it’s current… I don’t have the precise details to hand.”

He also rejected the suggestion that the Prime Minister’s leadership is in chaos.

Mr Shapps told BBC Breakfast: “A third down, in terms of crossings … the facts are we’re having success with it.”

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