RISHI Sunak invited a group of Tory MPs to breakfast at No 10 as he looks to avoid a humiliating defeat over his Rwanda plan ahead of a crunch vote on Tuesday night.

Would-be rebels have warned the Prime Minister that “major surgery” is still required on the flagship asylum legislation, with as many as 40 MPs prepared to either abstain or vote against it.

A revolt by 29 Tory MPs could be enough to defeat the bill at its first Commons hurdle – something that has not happened to a piece of UK Government legislation since 1986.

Members of the New Conservatives group, including deputy chairman Lee Anderson (below), were spotted walking into Downing Street ahead of the meeting.

The National: Lee Anderson sparked fury with his anti-migrant comments this week

Illegal migration minister Michael Tomlinson – who replaced Robert Jenrick after he resigned in protest at the legislation – said he is “very much in listening mode” amid efforts to woo would-be rebels.

“They’re not pesky rebels – they are respected colleagues who I have worked with,” he told Sky News.

“I know the desire of colleagues right across the breadth of our broad church in the parliamentary party. What do they want? They want this bill to work.

“The way I’m going to help to persuade them to support the bill and to support us as we pass the bill through Parliament is to help show that the bill is actually going to work, because that’s what we all want.

“We all want this legislation to work. And that is what I’m determined to do.”

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However, ex-Cabinet minister Simon Clarke joined the chorus of criticism of the bill, saying the Government should “withdraw the legislation and come back with a new bill” that could avoid appeals being sent to Rwanda.

Home Secretary James Cleverly used an article in The Telegraph to defend the plan, writing: “After Brexit, the United Kingdom is a fully sovereign country once again – and of course we must control our borders. Anyone who agrees must support the Rwanda bill.”

The legislation allows ministers to disapply the Human Rights Act but does not go as far as overriding the European Convention on Human Rights, which Tory headliners have demanded.

The Government’s current assessment is that only one in 200 cases will successfully avoid being sent to Rwanda once the bill becomes law.

The National: Keir Starmer

Elsewhere, Labour leader Keir Starmer (above) dismissed the Rwanda plan as a “gimmick” and a piece of political “performance art”.

He told BBC Breakfast his party would use the money “being wasted on the Rwanda scheme” to step up cross-border policing to tackle human trafficking gangs and speed up asylum claim processing.