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Politics

A group of Tory MPs plans to write a letter to Rishi Sunak demanding his “emergency legislation” to revive the Rwanda deportation scheme overrides human rights laws.

Sky News understands the New Conservatives group – a cohort of predominantly red wall MPs on the right of the party – will demand the legislation be “over-engineered” so it can see off potential further legal challenges.

The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the flagship immigration policy to deport refugees to Rwanda was unlawful.

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The prime minister has rejected calls to scrap the plan, saying a new treaty with Rwanda would be signed and “emergency legislation” would be passed in order to declare the east African country safe and address the judges’ concerns.

However, some Tory MPs are sceptical about the timings and fear the new bill could still be challenged.

The New Conservative group will make three requests to stop this from happening, including that the new legislation disapplies the UK Human Rights Act.

More on Rwanda

They will say it should also include “notwithstanding” clauses in order to override any international treaties or laws that could block the plan.

And they also want to give ministers powers to disregard so-called “pyjama injunctions” – which are last-minute orders from judges that could stop planes from taking off.

The group of MPs wants the legislation to be drawn up immediately, so it can be in place before the next general election.

The letter piles fresh pressure on Mr Sunak, who has staked his premiership on a promise to “stop the boats”.

But with an election due by January 2025 at the latest, time is running out to pass new legislation, which can take months.

Earlier, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said he could not guarantee flights will go to Rwanda next year – apparently contradicting Mr Sunak’s position on Wednesday that the scheme will be up and running by spring, despite the Supreme Court ruling.

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Hunt offers no Rwanda guarantee

The UK’s highest court said the scheme was not lawful because there was a risk that people sent to Rwanda could be deported to the countries they are fleeing from (a term known as refoulement).

The judges said this fell foul not only of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which many Tory MPs want to leave, but also other international treaties and the UK’s own domestic legislation.

Read More:
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The yet-to-be-published treaty with Rwanda is expected to attempt to address the Supreme Court’s concerns around refoulement.

However, it is not clear how the government thinks it can bypass human rights laws and international conventions, or when the new legislation will be brought before parliament.

Members of the House of Lords have warned the proposed emergency legislation bill is likely to face opposition and could very well be blocked by the upper chamber.

Former supreme court judge Jonathan Sumption told the BBC the plan to use a law to declare Rwanda as safe is “constitutionally really quite extraordinary” and would “effectively overrule” a decision by the UK’s highest court.

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