'Petulant' Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick QUITS over Rwanda

‘Petulant’ Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick QUITS… an hour after Rishi Sunak told his party ‘unite or die’ over Rwanda: Resignation is branded ‘a disgrace’ – as ‘trecherous’ rabble-rousers look set to tear the party apart on eve of election

Robert Jenrick unleashed fresh Tory chaos last night as he resigned as minister for immigration.

It came just an hour after a plea by Rishi Sunak for the party to ‘unite or die’ over his Rwanda policy.

The Prime Minister had urged factions to pull together to fight Labour instead of themselves after publishing emergency legislation he hopes will finally get the deportation flights off the ground.

Though Mr Sunak said his new Bill would ensure ‘our plan cannot be stopped’, following defeat in the Supreme Court, he faced immediate criticism from the Right of the party, who felt it did not go far enough.

The PM issued an ultimatum to his party to ‘come together as a team’ during a tub-thumping appearance before Tory MPs at the 1922 Committee, where he described the legislation as the ‘toughest piece of anti-illegal immigration law that we’ve ever put to the House’.

Robert Jenrick unleashed fresh Tory chaos last night as he resigned as minister for immigration

In a scathing resignation letter, Mr Jenrick described the legislation as ‘a triumph of hope over experience

Former home secretary Suella Braverman, who was sacked last month, said the Bill was ‘fatally flawed’ in the House of Commons today

Mr Sunak said it needed to be passed with a strong majority to ‘throw down the gauntlet to the Lords’, where it could face tough opposition.

But he faced immediate criticism for shunning the most hardline option and not providing powers to ignore the European Convention on Human Rights.

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: End Tory tantrums 

On the face of it, the Government’s ‘Plan B’ on Rwanda is a valiant attempt to get the beleaguered scheme up and running.

By making clear the African country is ‘safe’ and barring cross-Channel asylum seekers from exploiting the Human Rights Act to avoid removal, the emergency Bill satisfies the Supreme Court’s objections.

Critically, it will let ministers ignore decrees from European judges that try to block planes from taking off.

If not completely content, the Tory Right at least accepts this is a step forward.

It was not enough, however, to please Robert Jenrick. Claiming that the Bill would not end the carousel of legal challenges which paralyse the scheme, the Immigration Minister quit.

Rather than giving Rishi Sunak another headache, Mr Jenrick should have stayed in government and fought his corner.

Don’t ministers understand how sick the public are of their endless self-indulgent posturing? The only person their histrionics help is Keir Starmer, the ocean-going dud who too many Tory MPs seem hellbent on making look statesman-like and electable.

In a scathing resignation letter, Mr Jenrick described the legislation as ‘a triumph of hope over experience’. But a senior Tory source hit back, labelling Mr Jenrick’s desertion ‘a disgrace’. The source said: ‘The PM is trying to solve a serious problem – this is just petulant. It is just treacherous. They are trying to destroy the party, throwing their toys out of the pram to seek attention.

‘If you are genuinely serious about reducing immigration into this country – legal and illegal – you don’t quit. The sure-fire way to get the opposite is if Keir Starmer becomes prime minister.’

Mr Jenrick had been on the brink for days, demanding the UK should remove obstacles to Rwanda deportations by opting out of European human rights laws. Last night he conceded he was ‘unable to take the currently proposed legislation through the Commons as I do not believe it provides us with the best possible chance of success’.

He wrote: ‘The stakes for the country are too high for us not to pursue the stronger protections required to end the merry-go-round of legal challenges which risk paralysing the scheme and negating its intended deterrent.’

Former home secretary Suella Braverman, who was sacked last month, said the Bill was ‘fatally flawed’ and ‘won’t stop the boats’. But a Government source told the Mail ‘there is no Suella option on the table here’ because both Rwanda and the UK want to stay within international law. 

Meanwhile a veteran Tory MP told the Mail last night that the view among MPs was that Mrs Braverman ‘repeated what she had said before, but it is time to move on’.

‘The die-hards around her will cheer, but many others will say, “You’ve made your point, now stay silent, let’s move on – we’ve got an election to fight”,’ they said.

Rwanda’s foreign affairs minister Vincent Biruta said his country would not continue with the deal if it broke international law.

Jenrick’s resignation came just an hour after a plea by Rishi Sunak for the party to ‘unite or die’ over his Rwanda policy

Jenrick was Minister for Immigration between 25 October 2022 and 6 December 2023

Speculation about Mr Jenrick’s position reached fever pitch because he was nowhere to be seen while Home Secretary James Cleverly made a statement to MPs on the legislation at 6pm last night, 90 minutes after it was published.


Robert Jenrick became Minister for Immigration at the Home Office in October 2022.

In the year ending June 2023, there were 52,530 irregular migrants detected entering the UK , up 17% from the year ending June 2022 (source: Gov.uk).

Aside from his failure to ‘stop the boats’, Jenrick will probably be best remembered for ordering a colourful mural to be painted over at an asylum cenytre for unaccompanied children.

Charities branded the move ‘heartless’. 

The Bill – intended to overcome the Supreme Court ruling last month which declared the scheme unlawful – will disapply parts of the Human Rights Act and ‘unambiguously’ prevent meddling by the courts, Mr Cleverly said. 

It also sets out that only ministers – and not unelected judges – can decide whether to comply with Strasbourg injunctions designed to block the scheme.

However, Tory Right-wingers were angered by the inclusion of an apparent loophole which will allow those selected for removal to Rwanda to lodge legal challenges based on ‘individual circumstances’.

Mr Sunak won support from more centrist MPs, including the One Nation group. Tory whips had warned him that as many as ten ministers could quit if the Government tried to override the ECHR.

When he made his plea for unity last night, Mr Sunak referred to his first appearance before the 1922 Committee after being elected Tory leader just over a year ago. Back then, he warned fractious MPs they must ‘unite or die’. Last night he said this was ‘one of those moments’.

Tory MP Bob Seely said MPs heeded Mr Sunak’s call, saying they should ‘stick together’. He told Times Radio: ‘These are complex problems. You’ve got 100million people globally on the move over the next few years and we simply cannot throw open our welfare state to anyone who can get here.’

Last night, Mr Sunak wrote to Mr Jenrick saying he had a ‘fundamental misunderstanding’ of the Bill. The PM said his resignation was ‘disappointing’ and added that Rwanda would not accept a scheme in breach of international law.

Mr Sunak added: ‘There would be no point in passing a law that would leave us with nowhere to send people to.’

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