Tories from Left and Right Threaten to Sink Small Boats Bill mdi-fullscreen

Suella’s Illegal Migration Bill is up for its second reading in the Commons today, and while Downing Street had hoped to pass it without a hitch, Tory agitators on both the left and the right are kicking up a fuss this morning. For the wets, one brave Tory voice has joined the resistance with Gary Lineker and Alastair Campbell: Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee – and May-era Immigration Minister – Caroline Nokes. Speaking to Times Radio, Nokes claimed she was “horrified” by the Bill and planned to vote against it:

“I’ve made that clear to my whip, I can’t vote for this. I didn’t vote for the last one, I won’t be voting for this one. I might be an outlier in my party but I think we have an absolute duty to treat people humanely to keep people safe. I have absolute horror at the prospect […] I didn’t vote for the last nationality and borders bill, that hasn’t achieved its aim in reducing crossings. In fact, we’ve seen them increase, and I fail to see what this legislation is going to do to act as a deterrent.”

Nokes’ rebellion isn’t exactly surprising, given her record. One MP joked to Guido she’s “Conservative in name only” and “if it’s just her then it’s a good excuse for the whips”. Luckily for Nokes, however, she might not be alone after all. Reports of a rebellion from the Tory right to back an ECHR amendment could lead to a more significant challenge to the Bill. This morning the I reports at least two PPSs could quit in an effort to force the government to disentangle from the ECHR, joining “dozens” of backbenchers forcing a tougher approach. Over the weekend, the Telegraph also reported that moderate MPs were grumbling over the lack of “safe and legal routes”, although as one MP said to Guido this morning, with the likes of Damian Green on-board, the rest may now fall in line. Stay tuned as the Commons debate presses ahead this afternoon…

UPDATE: Chris Skidmore says he is “not prepared to break international law” and will not vote for the Bill tonight…

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mdi-timer March 13 2023 @ 10:42 mdi-share-variant mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-printer
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