RISHI Sunak’s Government was brought back from the brink of a potentially humiliating defeat in the Commons as MPs approved the latest bid to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Some 38 Conservative rebels abstained on the new Rwanda bill – which aims to circumvent the Supreme Court’s block on the scheme by preventing courts from hearing appeals against deportation on the grounds Rwanda is unsafe.

But enough Tory MPs were placated to give the Prime Minister a narrow majority – in a sign further trouble could await Sunak’s Government.

The bill was carried with a majority of just 44 votes – with a number of high-profile Tory MPs, including former home secretary Suella Braverman abstaining.

Some on the Tory right are concerned the bill does not go far enough in preventing legal challenges against deportation, which they argue would render the policy effectively pointless.

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They have previously pushed for the bill to override the European Convention on Human Rights – something the Rwandan government has said was a red line which would see them pull out of the deal, which has so far delivered £290 million to the country while no asylum seekers have yet been deported there.

Danny Kruger, the co-founder of one of the so-called “five families” groups of right-wing Tory MPs, told MPs he would not support the bill at its first Commons hurdle during a lengthy debate on Tuesday evening.

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Robert Jenrick (above), who resigned as immigration minister in protest over the bill, called for the Government to put stricter curbs on migrants’ ability to legally challenge their removal and for the ability to overrule European Court of Human Rights injunctions. 

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Their hopes will now be pinned on introducing amendments to the bill at its later stages in the Commons, which could alienate Tory moderates, who gave conditional support to the legislation because it did not break international law.

This could include amending the bill in ways which did not interfere with international law, something the Prime Minister has said he is open-minded about.

But SNP MP Joanna Cherry raised concerns during the debate on the bill that it trampled on the special rights of the Court of Session in being able to mitigate the effects of overly strict legislation, raising the possibility it could be subject to challenge in the Edinburgh court. 

Treating asylum seekers as 'waste' 

Alison Thewliss, the SNP’s home affairs spokesperson, said the bill had made the Government “people traffickers”.

She said: “If we start to offload our international responsibilities to any third country, we’re effectively surrendering our influence over what then happens next.

“This Government themselves have become people traffickers, sending human beings offshore against their will as if they were some kind of waste to be processed rather than human beings alike in dignity.”

The Glasgow Central also called for the introduction of humanitarian travel documents, which would function like a passport.

She added: “If a humanitarian travel document existed, those same young people could avoid the perilous journey in a leaky rubber dingy, they could get the same train or ferry as many travellers do every year, they would not need to pay people smugglers at all. That would kill the business model.”

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Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper (above) mocked Sunak for his crisis breakfast meeting with Tory rebels on the morning of the vote, saying he had been “buttering them up with butties and bacon and a side of briefing and backstabbing”.

She added: “Promising them amendments and then rowing back, telling them he really wants to break international law but the Rwandan government won’t let him, hiding behind the Kigali administration because he is too weak to even defend his plan.

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“Weak, weak, weak. The Prime Minister says his patience is wearing thin, well how do they think the country feels.”

Tory backbencher Nick Fletcher was also criticised for a speech in which he described the city of Doncaster as a “ghetto”.

The Don Valley MP said: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Doncaster is full.”

He added: “We are turning parts of our community into a ghetto.”

Michael Shanks, a shadow Scotland Office minister, said it was “one of the most appalling speeches” he had heard.

The Rutherglen MP added: “We talk of planes and boats and targets and backlogs and forget that these are human beings seeking shelter and a better life.”

Human rights charity Amnesty International called the bill “a sad assault on the rule of law and the protection of human rights in this country”.

Chief executive Sacha Deshmukh, added: “Stripping people of their rights and shipping them off to Rwanda when they’re seeking asylum in the UK is a clear dereliction of this country’s responsibilities toward some of the world’s most desperate people. It is an attack on the basic principle that human rights are universal.”

Welcoming the result, Sunak tweeted: “The British people should decide who gets to come to this country – not criminal gangs or foreign courts. That’s what this bill delivers.

“We will now work to make it law so that we can get flights going to Rwanda and stop the boats.”