SENIOR Tory MPs Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith have resigned from their roles in the Conservative Party in a row over the Rwanda bill.

Tory chief whip Simon Hart said before Tuesday's vote that rebel MPs would be punished if they backed amendments seeking to toughen up the UK Government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Africa.

Those included measures to ignore international law and the Human Rights Act.

Anderson, who is an occasional GB News presenter, and Clarke-Smith (below) have both stepped down from their roles as deputy chairs of the Conservative Party, The Times reports.

The National: Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw

As MPs voted on the proposed amendments to the Rwanda bill on Tuesday evening, Clarke-Smith published on Twitter/X a letter signed by him and Anderson addressed to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tendering their resignations.

They said they had supported right-wing amendments to give the Government the ability to disapply international law and ignore parts of the Human Rights Act because they believed this would prevent the bill from facing further legal hurdles.

“We have already had two pieces of legislation thwarted by a system that does not work in favour of the British people,” they wrote.

The Supreme Court last year struck down the Government’s plans to send some asylum seekers to the African nation, saying that the policy ran the risk of seeing asylum seekers again deported from Rwanda to other potentially unsafe countries.

The two MPs added: “Our support for the party and this Government remains as strong as ever and that is why we are so passionate about making this legislation work.

"However, we fully appreciate that with such important roles there is also the issue of being bound by collective responsibility.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak bids to see off Tory rebellion over Rwanda bill in Commons showdown

“It is with this in mind that we fully appreciate that whilst our main wish is to strengthen the legislation, this means that in order to vote for amendments we will therefore need to offer you our resignations from our roles.”

Anderson has been a darling of the Tory right and the loss adds to the Prime Minister’s headaches over the troubled policy.

The National: Rishi Sunak suggested a new law could designate Rwanda as a safe country (Leon Neal/PA)

More than 60 MPs – including Anderson and Clarke-Smith – indicated before voting began that they intended to back amendments to the bill.

It is expected the bill will return to the Commons for further debate on Wednesday and Sunak will fear that Tory rebels may find the numbers to tank the legislation at its final hurdle.

They are concerned the bill as it stands does not go far enough and will be subject to the same legal challenges as hamstrung previous efforts.

The Government’s critics have accused it of creating an Orwellian legal fiction by declaring Rwanda a “safe” country.