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Tory deputy chairmen Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith resign after backing Rwanda bill amendments | Politics News

Two deputy chairs of the Conservative Party have resigned from their roles after they both supported rebel amendments to Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda bill.

Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith both said they would support proposed changes designed to toughen up Mr Sunak’s bill, which seeks to declare Rwanda a safe country to deport asylum seekers to.

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Jane Stevenson, a parliamentary private secretary (PPS) in the Department for Business and Trade, also said she would support rebel amendments to the Rwanda Bill.

On Tuesday night MPs voted on a series of amendments to the bill, including one submitted by veteran Tory MP Sir Bill Cash, whose amendment sought to disapply international law with regards to Rwanda being a safe country

In total 70 rebels backed the amendment.

However, the amendment still passed by 529 votes to 68, leaving a majority of 461.

In a joint resignation letter, Mr Anderson and Mr Clarke-Smith said they supported the amendments “not because we are against the legislation, but because like everybody else we want it to work”.

“This task is not an easy one and we appreciate the fine balance that must be struck,” they added.

“As two people who have been on very different political journeys, one as a person who followed the same path many voters did for the first time at the last general election and another who has been a lifelong Conservative Party supporter, it has been a huge honour for both of us to serve as deputy chairmen of the party.

“Our support for the party and this government remains as strong as ever and that is why we are so passionate about making this legislation work.

“However, we fully appreciate that with such important roles there is also the issue of being bound by collective responsibility.

“It is with this in mind that we fully appreciate that whilst our main wish is to strengthen the legislation, this means that in order to vote for amendments we will therefore need to offer you our resignations from our roles.”

On Monday night, Mr Anderson and Mr Clarke-Smith confirmed they would back rebel amendments to the bill, paving the way for them to resign or be sacked.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said: “Sunak’s Rwanda scheme just won’t work – and even the deputy chairmen of his own party know it.

“Rishi Sunak has yet again been embarrassed by his own MPs.

“If the prime minister can’t even settle squabbles in his own party, how can he be expected to run the country?”

Seven sites get government backing to win UNESCO World Heritage status | UK News

Seven sites have received government backing to win UNESCO World Heritage status.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) publishes a “tentative list” around every 10 years setting out which sites it feels have the best chance of being included.

If successful, the sites will join the 33 other World Heritage sites in the UK or overseas territories, including Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall.

The seven sites are:

• York city centre, with its Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman history, and civic and religious buildings including York Minster
• Birkenhead Park, which opened in 1847 – a pioneering project to bring greenery to urban environments and a blueprint for municipal planning that has influenced famous sites such as New York’s Central Park
• The Zenith of Iron Age Shetland – three ancient settlements dating back thousands of years
• The East Atlantic Flyway – a migratory bird route over western Europe which includes Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent
• The Little Cayman Marine Parks and Protected Areas, in the UK overseas territory of the Cayman Islands
• The Flow Country – a large area of peatland across Caithness and Sutherland in Scotland’s north
• Gracehill Moravian Church Settlement in Northern Ireland

The last two submitted their full nominations to UNESCO earlier this year, and remain on the Government’s tentative list, while the other five are new additions.

Gracehill Moravian Church, Northern Ireland. Pic: Stormont Dept for Communities
Gracehill Moravian Church, Northern Ireland. Pic: Stormont Dept for Communities
An aerial view of Birkenhead Park visitor centre, Birkenhead, Wirral. Picture date: Sunday March 21, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Birkenhead Park visitor centre

Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: “Today we are confirming our support for some of the most enchanting heritage sites and breath-taking landscapes in the UK and its overseas territories as they bid for UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

“All the locations being put forward would be worthy recipients of this accolade – and we will give them our full backing so they can benefit from the international recognition it can bring.”

UNESCO World Heritage status is for places that are of “outstanding universal value to humanity” and should be “protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy”.

Read more:
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Places already recognised include the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, the Taj Mahal in India, the Grand Canyon in the USA, and the Acropolis in Greece.

Laura Davies, HM Ambassador to UNESCO, said: “It is great that the UK is contributing to making World Heritage more representative.

“These five sites brilliantly reflect the diversity and beauty of the UK and its overseas territories’ natural and cultural heritage, and I look forward to working with them towards World Heritage listing.”

The DCMS will work with local authorities and devolved administrations to develop their bids.