Sunak faces a Conservative crisis over his blocked plan to send migrants to Rwanda

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Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly session of Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament in London, on Dec 6. (AP)

LONDON, Dec 7, (AP): British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was struggling to avert a leadership crisis on Thursday after his plan to revive a blocked asylum deal with Rwanda triggered turmoil in his party and the resignation of his immigration minister.
Sunak called a hastily scheduled news conference to defend his policy after Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick quit the government late Wednesday, saying a bill designed to override a court block on the Rwanda plan “does not go far enough” and won’t work.
Jenrick said the government had pledged to “stop the boats” bringing migrants to Britain across the English Channel and must do “whatever it takes to deliver this commitment.”
The plan to send asylum-seekers on a one-way trip to Rwanda is central to the UK government’s self-imposed goal of stopping unauthorized asylum-seekers crossing the Channel from France.
Britain and Rwanda agreed on a deal in April 2022 under which migrants who cross the Channel would be sent to Rwanda, where their asylum claims would be processed and, if successful, they would stay.
The UK government argues that the deportations will discourage others from making the risky sea crossing and break the business model of people-smuggling gangs. Critics say it’s both unethical and unworkable to send migrants to a country 6,400 kilometers (4,000 miles) away with no chance of ever settling in the UK.
No one has yet been sent to Rwanda under the plan, which has faced multiple legal challenges. Last month the UK Supreme Court ruled the plan was illegal because Rwanda isn’t a safe country for refugees.
The government has refused to drop the plan despite the court’s judgment. Britain and Rwanda have since signed a treaty pledging to strengthen protection for migrants. The UK government says that will allow it to pass a law declaring Rwanda a safe destination and allowing the government to ignore parts of British human rights law to send migrants there.

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