Rishi Sunak's Own Net Zero Tsar Says He Will Not Vote For Immigration Bill As Revolt Grows
Rishi Sunak is facing a growing Tory revolt over his plans to crack down on asylum seekers arriving in small boats after another senior MP announced that they will not vote for it.
Chris Skidmore - who also currently serves as the PM’s net zero tsar - said he was “not prepared to break international law or the human rights conventions” by backing the Illegal Migration Bill, which MPs will vote on tonight.
He follows former immigration minister Caroline Nokes, the Tory chair of the equalities committee, who yesterday branded the Bill an “absolute horror”.
“I can’t vote for this,” she told Times Radio on Sunday. “I think we have an absolute duty to treat people humanely to keep people safe.”
Nokes warned the bill was “removing protections for pregnant women, removing protections for families”.
Skidmore, who is standing down at the next election, announced his position in a tweet.
I am not prepared to break international law or the human rights conventions that the UK has had a proud history of playing a leading role in establishing.
I will not be voting for the bill tonight.
— Chris Skidmore (@CSkidmoreUK) March 13, 2023
George Osborne, the former chancellor, has also said some of the language used by Tories on immigration has been “unacceptable”.
Monday’s vote comes amid a huge row over the bill which saw Gary Lineker removed from his BBC job over the weekend for criticising the government.
The Match of the Day presenter accused home secretary Suella Braverman of using language used was “not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the ’30s”.
The government’s plans would see migrants who arrive through unauthorised means deported and given a lifetime ban from returning.
Anyone who crosses the Channel in a small boat would only be eligible for asylum in a “safe” third country, such as Rwanda.
Braverman has admitted her legislation might not even be legal as it could breach existing human rights laws.
Yvette Cooper, Labour’ shadow home secretary, has said the Bill is a “con which will make our broken asylum system worse”.
“Not only will it fail to tackle dangerous boat crossings, but it shows the repeated false claims and promises that both the Prime Minister and Home Secretary have made,” she said.
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