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    Rishi Sunak news – live: Stop ‘mad’ plotting against PM and back Rwanda plan, Tory rebels warned

    Robert Jenrick resigns as immigration minister over Rwanda bill in huge blow to Rishi Sunak

    Senior Conservatives have urged their fellow Tory MPs to stop plotting against Rishi Sunak and back his Rwanda plan in a Commons vote next week which could deal a major blow to his premiership.

    With the crucial vote hanging on a margin of 28 ballots, dozens of hardline Tories could be swayed by a so-called “star chamber” of lawyers, who gave their damning verdict on Sunday that Mr Sunak’s last-ditch legislation to get planes to Rwanda – following his Supreme Court defeat – is “not fit for purpose”.

    Ex-Brexit minister David Davis accused Tory colleagues of exacerbating the crisis to boost their own leadership profiles, warning that those “who trade off their own future against the future of the party always lose”, while Iain Duncan Smith urged his party to “stop shouting and just literally discuss these things in a reasonable way”.

    Some Tory MPs – described as “mad or malicious or both” by moderate Damian Green – were even reported to be planning an “Advent calendar of s***” for Mr Sunak and plotting the return of Boris Johnson on a “dream ticket” leadership bid with Nigel Farage.

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    Michelle Mone hits out at government over PPE controversy

    Tory peer Michelle Mone has accused the government of using her as a scapegoat for its own Covid failings, as she conceded making an “error” in publicly denying her links to the PPE Medpro firm being investigated by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

    Lady Mone told The Telegraph she is “ashamed of being a Conservative peer given what this government has done to us”, as the Ultimo bra tycoon launched a public defence on Sunday over the controversy surrounding “VIP lane” contracts during the pandemic.

    PPE Medpro was awarded government contracts worth more than £200m to supply personal protective equipment after she recommended it to ministers. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has since issued breach of contract proceedings over the 2020 deal on the supply of gowns.

    Lady Mone told a YouTube documentary that she and her husband Doug Barrowman would be cleared, arguing they have “done nothing wrong”, but said: “I made an error in what I said to the press. I regret not saying to the press straight away, ‘Yes, I am involved.’ And the government knew I was involved.”

    She claimed it is “100 per cent a lie” to suggest she was not transparent with officials, and the pair claimed a “DHSC negotiator” suggested the case could “go away” for the right sum.

    Andy Gregory10 December 2023 13:56

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    Labour’s Wes Streeting claims ‘wasteful’ NHS using winter crises as excuse for cash

    Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has accused the “wasteful” NHS of using repeated winter crises as “an excuse to ask for more money”.

    The key figure in Sir Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet said the public needed “to hear the truth about the NHS” – promising a “tough love” approach to running the health service.

    Mr Streeting vowed to “shake the NHS and the public out of complacency” over Britain’s healthcare, as he pledged to bring back a family doctor system as part of Labour’s wide-ranging reforms.

    “I think people working in the NHS and the patients using the NHS can see examples of waste and inefficiency,” he told The Sunday Times on a visit to Singapore.

    And in an outspoken attack on health service bosses, Mr Streeting added: “I don’t think it’s good enough that the NHS uses every winter crisis and every challenge it faces as an excuse to ask for more money.”

    Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent10 December 2023 13:37

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    Stop ‘mad’ plotting against Sunak and back Rwanda plan, Tory rebels warned

    Senior Conservatives have urged their fellow Tory MPs to stop plotting against Rishi Sunak and back his Rwanda plan in next week’s crucial Commons vote.

    Ex-Brexit minister David Davis accused Mr Sunak’s rivals of exacerbating the crisis to boost their own leadership profiles, telling Sky News: “I’m not going to name them [the MPs]. All of my colleagues know who they are – and it will be to their long-term disadvantage.

    “I’ve seen this before. People who trade off their own future against the future of the party always lose.”

    In a similar appeal for calm, former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith urged his party on GB News to “stop shouting and just literally discuss these things in a reasonable way”.

    And with some Tory MPs even reported to be planning an “Advent calendar of s***” for Mr Sunak and plotting the return of Boris Johnson on a “dream ticket” leadership bid with Nigel Farage, moderate Damian Green said: “Anyone who thinks that what the Conservative party or the country needs is a change of prime minister is either mad or malicious or both.”

    “It is a very, very small number doing that [plotting to oust Mr Sunak] – a vanishing small number,” he told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show.

    Andy Gregory10 December 2023 13:19

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    ‘Five families’ of Tory MPs will discuss bill on Monday

    Senior right-winger Sir Bill Cash will present the “star chamber” findings on the Rwanda bill to MPs in five different backbench groups at lunchtime on Monday.

    Brexiteer Mark Francois, the European Research Group chairman, said a presentation on the “forensic examination” of Rishi Sunak’s bill would be heard at noon.

    He said an invitation had been extended to MPs in the New Conservatives group run by Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates, the Common Sense Group run by Suella Braverman ally Johns Hayes, the Conservative Growth Group made up of Liz Truss allies, and the Northern Research Group of red-wall MPs.

    “We then aim to have a collective discussion about our best approach to the second reading of the Bill, on Tuesday,” said Mr Francois.

    Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent10 December 2023 12:52

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    Tories could see worst general election result in history with just 130 seats, says John Curtice

    Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives are facing their worst ever result at the general election and could be left with just 130 seats, according to Professor Sir John Curtice.

    The country’s top polling guru warned of the bleak situation faced by the Tories as they head into winter with the news dominated by in-fighting over the PM’s Rwanda deportation plan.

    Prof Curtice said Mr Sunak’s party would be “lucky to win [many] more than 200 seats” and could see an even worse result if its dire poll ratings continued.

    “If these patterns were to be replicated in a general election, the outcome for the Conservatives could be bleak indeed – maybe as few as 130 seats, the worst outcome in the party’s history,” he wrote for the Sunday Telegraph.

    The outcome would be even worse than the 165 seats the Tories were left with in 1997, when the party, then led by John Major, was thumped by Tony Blair’s Labour – who won a landslide 179-seat majority.

    Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent10 December 2023 12:39

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    Braverman suggest Sunak is lying about Rwanda’s concerns over bill

    Sacked home secretary Suella Braverman has piled even more pressure on Rishi Sunak – attacking his “rather strange” claim that a tougher bill would have caused the deal with Rwanda to collapse.

    Suggesting the PM was not telling the truth, she told the Sunday Telegraph: “I’ve been to Rwanda several times and I have spoken to the Rwandan government a lot. It never once raised any kind of concerns like this.”

    Ms Braverman said the bill “not fit for purpose” because of the “gaping holes” she believes it leaves open for legal challenges.

    Backing Robert Jenrick’s claim that the bill leaves open legal challenges by individual asylum seekers, Ms Braverman said: “There will be individual claims brought by every person who is put on the first flight to Rwanda.”

    She also claimed the bill it leaves the government open to injunctions by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which helped block last year’s planned Rwanda flight. “As it stands Rule 39 [injunctions] will block flights,” Ms Braverman said.

    Adam Forrest10 December 2023 11:55

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    Iain Duncan Smith wants ‘jungle’ of Tory infighting to stop

    Sir Iain Duncan Smith has appealed to MPs to end their in-fighting over the Rwanda bill and discuss the issue “in a reasonable way”.

    The former Tory leader suggested that he wanted to support Rishi Sunak’s plan – but said he would wait to hear the legal verdict of the “star chamber” convened by the Tory right.

    He said on GB News: “The truth is, we do a lot of shouting at the moment and I wish we’d stop shouting and just literally discuss these things in a reasonable way.

    “I’ve been in the jungle now for 32 years, it’s called parliament. And frankly, that is worse than any insect bites you can possibly get.”

    “So there’s good stuff in [the bill] and it’s a good attempt to do this. The question is whether on the margins that brings the exact results or unexpected consequences and so I’ve held my own counsel. I want to see what the final report of these lawyers.”

    Asked if he thought flights to Rwanda would take off before the next general election, he said: “I think we have to. I think it is wholly feasible.”

    Adam Forrest, Political Correspondent10 December 2023 11:41

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    Rwanda president Kagame is ‘like Putin of Africa’, says Bill Browder

    The president of Rwanda “is like the Putin of Africa”, anti-corruption campaigner Bill Browder has said.

    The head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign told the BBC: “Everyone’s ignoring the elephant in the room which is Rwanda. So, the president of Rwanda Paul Kagame is like the Putin of Africa.”

    Mr Browder used the example of Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager hero on whom the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda was based, who in 2021 was sentenced to 25 years in prison in Rwanda on terrorism charges. He was released after serving two years and returned to the US, where he now lives.

    Mr Browder added: “The idea that we’re going to be sending political refugees to a country that’s like that is just absurd. The whole thing should be torn up and thrown out.”

    Andy Gregory10 December 2023 11:29

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    Sunak’s government ‘in desperate dying days’, says Labour

    Shadow work and pensions secretary Liz Kendall has been quizzed about Labour’s migration policies on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

    Asked about the new £38,000 minimum salary threshold the government proposes for skilled workers, Ms Kendall refused to say what figure the Labour Party would set but said they had called for a raise in the previous limit of £18,600.

    “It really does feel like the desperate dying days of this government. Labour understands it is a serious issue dealing with this,” she said.

    “My concern is this endless merry-go-round of bills being put forward by the government means we’re not going to deal with an issue which is really important for the country.”

    Andy Gregory10 December 2023 11:11

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    Analysis | And they’re off: Kemi Badenoch takes an early lead in the Tory leadership stakes

    In his latest column, our chief political commentator John Rentoul notes that there was not one but two articles by Conservative leadership candidates in the newspapers on Saturday. He writes:

    Kemi Badenoch, the business secretary, had an article in The Sun saying Brexit was a vote of confidence in the country. And Robert Jenrick, described by the online version of The Daily Telegraph as “immigration minister”, which was his job until Wednesday, has written a longer version of his resignation letter.

    The collapse in Tory discipline has been so rapid that someone who is well connected to what he calls “the party in the shires” has mentioned Bob Hawke to me. This is code between us for a late change of leadership before an election, which is what the Australian Labor Party did in 1983. After the election was called, it ditched Bill Hayden, its uninspiring leader, and put Hawke in. He went on to win not just that election but three more.

    That late switch was made in opposition, but it can be done in government. Anthony Eden went to the country immediately on taking office in April 1955, and in that election increased the Tory majority from 17 to 60. Boris Johnson is the only other recent example, managing to convince his opponents to give him the election he wanted three months after he became leader in 2019.

    This time, the Conservatives changing leader yet again would look desperate and is likely only to make matters worse for the MPs who would have to make it happen. Even if, in the abstract, they thought that a fresh face might help to save a few seats, the process of making the change could only further damage the party’s reputation.

    You can read his analysis in full here:

    Andy Gregory10 December 2023 10:53

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