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Whatever happens in Rwanda vote, Rishi Sunak is in deep trouble | Politics News

Whatever happens in the vote over emergency legislation tomorrow, Rishi Sunak is in deep trouble.

In making flights to Rwanda this totemic policy of his premiership, he has stoked a civil war in this party which threatens to blow up his benches and his leadership, as Brexit did for Theresa May.

Because just as with Brexit, the left and right of the party is split, unable to find common ground.

In essence, moderates are crystal clear that Sunak shouldn’t do anything that undermines the rule of law, while the right of the party wants the prime minister to harden up the bill – with some even believing the government should pull out of international obligations such as the European Convention of Human Rights.

Read more:
What is the revamped Rwanda asylum plan?

On Monday night, Sunak did win the backing of the One Nation moderates, who said they’d vote for the emergency legislation tomorrow, but they also made it very clear their support is conditional.

“We have taken the decision that the most important thing at this stage is to support the bill despite our real concerns,” Damian Green, chair of the group, said.

But, he also said: “We strongly urge the government to stand firm against any attempt to amend the bill in a way that would make it unacceptable to those who believe that support for the rule of law is a basic Conservative principle.”

Shortly after that statement went out, representatives on the right of the Conservative Party sent out this: “More than 40 colleagues met tonight to discuss the bill.

Every member of that discussion said the bill needs major surgery or replacement.

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‘No plans’ to pull Rwanda bill

While Sunak says he will listen to concerns, allies have made it clear that he will not support a significant rewrite of the legislation.

He is a prime minister who wants to stay within the bounds of international law.

Over the next 24 hours, he will urge the right-wing rebels to stick with him. But what is so obviously clear is that winning tomorrow is only the beginning, not the end of the war.

Because if the right of the party back him now, it will be to amend the legislation further down the line.

These MPs will probably hope the government will support them at a later stage. And they would still retain the nuclear option of voting against the bill at the third reading. That doesn’t bear thinking about for the prime minister.

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For now, Sunak is pulling out all the stops to win the vote tomorrow. His argument will be that this emergency legislation is all about the fundamental principle of tackling illegal immigration and that the party must be seen to be voting it through.

But he knows, too, that his is a showdown delayed not resolved. A party in civil war and a prime minister unable to stop it.

Be in no doubt, the prime minister is in deep trouble | Beth Rigby | Politics News

Be in absolutely no doubt, the prime minister is in deep trouble.

She has sacked her chancellor, committed a second major U-turn on her mini-budget, and junked the core of her economic policy.

And she did so, awkwardly and uncomfortably, in no more than eight minutes.

Government descends into chaos as PM faces battle to survive – follow live updates

In an excruciating news conference – so short the gathered political press pack were left open-mouthed as she departed – Liz Truss made her already perilous political position even worse.

The aim of this breakneck change in direction was to attempt to calm markets and her Conservative colleagues, but instead, she left huge questions unanswered.

It’s worth underlining the significance of what the prime minister just announced.

First, on policy, she has buckled and reversed her position on corporation tax. She will now go ahead with the increase proposed by her leadership rival, Rishi Sunak.

During the contest to replace Boris Johnson as Tory leader, Ms Truss had said increasing the rate from 19% to 25% next April would “put off people who want to invest in Britain” and amount to “cutting off our nose to spite our face”.

It was a significant part of the platform on which she was elected Tory leader, now humiliatingly discarded in order to bring in around £18bn to fill the black hole left by last month’s mini-budget.

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‘You’re out of your depth, prime minister?’

Read more:
Ministers say PM ‘cannot survive’ – so how could Liz Truss be removed?

She said it was a “down payment” on the medium-term fiscal plan due to be set out on 31 October – a signal to the markets that she’s prepared to make more reversals if necessary.

Does she still believe it will put people off investing? We don’t know because she didn’t stick around at the news conference long enough to be asked.

On the sacking of Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor, she expressed her sorrow – but again, did not answer the obvious question about how she can possibly justify his departure without her own.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng walk outside a hotel, as Britain's Conservative Party's annual conference continues, in Birmingham, Britain, October 4, 2022. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Image:
Liz Truss and her former chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng

The chancellor, who was supposed to be one of her closest political friends, was also humiliatingly discarded – along with the government’s radical economic mission for which she had asked him to lead the charge.

The way in which the prime minister delivered this news really matters. Not just because of the lack of scrutiny that came from only taking four questions and barely engaging with them in the answers – but because her party, and indeed the markets, will have been watching to see how she handled the situation.

That news conference was not just about communicating with the public. The messages I received from Conservative MPs ahead of the news conference made clear that she needed to put in a really strong, reassuring performance.

Their fears are that she is out of her depth. They want to see that she can handle being prime minister. And the early signs are that her performance today failed on both fronts.

One MP has messaged me saying it was “shockingly bad”, even by Liz Truss’s standards.

Jeremy Hunt says that while now is not the right time to change Prime Minister, he hasn't ruled out a return to frontline politics
Image:
Jeremy Hunt has replaced Kwasi Kwarteng as chancellor

Jeremy Hunt’s installation as the new chancellor may be intended to show the ship is being steadied – that someone with deep experience in government is at the helm of the economy and that markets do not need to fear further surprises.

But power flows from Number 10. The prime minister is the head of government. The prime minister is the person who must command the confidence of the Commons if they are to remain in post.

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This prime minister looks out of her depth. “It’s not going to last,” is how one cabinet minister put it to me.

Body found in search for man who got into trouble in Doncaster lake | UK News

A body has been found in the search for a man who got into trouble in a lake in Doncaster, the police have said.

The emergency services attended the scene at Lakeside Lake on Saturday afternoon after receiving calls that the man, who was in his 20s, had got into difficulty, South Yorkshire Police said.

The force said: “We are very sorry to report that following earlier information about an incident at Lakeside, Doncaster, a body has now been found.”

Formal identification is yet to take place, but the man’s family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

A police plane had been sighted circling the lake for 20 minutes after the initial reports.

Specialist teams were involved in the search for the man and South Yorkshire Police had asked the public to avoid the area.

More than 20 people have lost their lives after getting into difficulty in water during the extreme heat this summer.

Temperatures exceeded 30C in many parts of England on Saturday.

Read more:
Campaign launches to prevent drowning in UK

IF YOU SEE SOMEONE STRUGGLING IN THE WATER:

Call 999 – ask for Fire & Rescue if inland or the Coastguard if by the sea

Tell the struggling person to try to float on their back

Throw them something that floats – anything, even a football

IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING IN THE WATER:

Try to lay on your back

Stick your arms and legs out to enable better floating

Once you have calmed down and got your bearings, shout for help

In the UK, most deaths by drowning occur in the three summer months, with July being the worst.

Last month Brian Sasu, 14, drowned off Tagg’s Island near Hampton Court in southwest London after taking a dip to cool off when his school closed early.

Robert Hattersley, 13, died in the River Tyne near Ovingham, Northumberland. His family were left “absolutely devastated”.

Last year, 277 people died after drowning in the UK, up from 254 in 2020 and 233 in 2019.

A campaign to prevent drowning, called Respect The Water, has been launched.

The National Water Safety Forum, which is running the initiative, aims to halve by 2026 the number of people in the UK who accidentally die in the water each year.