Sunak’s Government Faces New Turmoil As Immigration Minister Jenrick Resigns

UK's Rwanda Deal Dealt Major Blow

Former Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick. Credit: Chris McAndrew/Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

The resignation of Robert Jenrick, the former immigration minister, has stirred a new controversy in Rishi Sunak’s government.

On Wednesday, December 6,  the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak introduced a bill aimed at reinforcing his Rwanda deportation policy.

However, the optimism surrounding the new Rwanda pact was short-lived when Jenrick announced his departure. His decision is a major blow to Sunak, especially as he was seen as one of the prime minister’s closest allies and supporters.

The revelation that the bill fails to supersede international laws, hindering the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda, triggered this resignation, according to the Guardian.

Jenrick’s Resignation

In a statement released on Twitter/X, Jenrick, the Newark MP said: ‘It is with great sadness that I have written to the Prime Minister to tender my resignation as Minister for Immigration.

‘I cannot continue in my position when I have such strong disagreements with the direction of the Government’s policy on immigration.’

He criticised the bill as overly optimistic, predicting further legal challenges. He regarded the bill as ‘a triumph of hope over experience,’ voicing his inability to recommend its merits.

Expressing his lack of faith in the Rwanda proposal he wrote: ‘ I refuse to be yet another politician who makes promises on immigration to the British public but does not keep them.’

Jenrick’s departure signals his potential leadership in the growing right-wing opposition within the UK, focusing on unilateral actions in asylum policies.

Sunak’s Response And Opposition’s Take

Reacting to the resignation, Sunak expressed disappointment, suggesting a ‘fundamental misunderstanding’ on Jenrick’s part. He defended the bill as the most stringent ever proposed by a UK government but acknowledged the necessity of not completely disregarding court decisions to maintain the Rwanda scheme’s viability.

Opposition voices, like Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, highlighted the chaos and leadership struggles within the government and questioned the effectiveness and direction of Sunak’s leadership.

Legislative Challenges And Party Reactions

The emergency bill stops short of leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), sparking criticism from Conservative right-wing members. They argue that it fails to prevent individual legal appeals against deportation to Rwanda.

High-profile Tory figures, including former ministers and allies of Suella Braverman, the previous Home Secretary, have voiced significant concerns about the bill’s efficacy and legal robustness.

The discontent reflects the party’s internal divisions and the challenges Sunak faces in uniting his party and effectively managing the country’s immigration policy.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.