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The passage of the Rwanda bill could be just the beginning of Sunak's troubles

Rishi Sunak's Rwanda bill successfully passed in the Commons, but the victory may bring new challenges to the Conservative prime minister’s tenure. While Sunak avoided the catastrophic defeat a prime minister hasn’t faced since 1977, the bill saw resistance, with 60 MPs opposing it at one point, indicating Sunak's potentially precarious position.
Sunak, who inherited the contentious Rwanda deportation policy from his predecessors Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, could face further obstacles in implementing it. The House of Lords may seek to derail or delay the bill, though a delay seems more probable. If the bill does pass, its assertion that Rwanda is a safe country for deporting asylum seekers will likely face legal scrutiny.

Should legal challenges arise, Sunak and his ministers might criticize "lefty lawyers" and "unelected peers," but there's a risk that public opinion might turn against them, especially if Sunak fails to deliver on his promise to start deportations by spring.

Moreover, the policy's success hinges on reducing Channel crossings, a goal skeptics find unrealistic. Should it not work as planned, Sunak’s right-wing critics may blame insufficient implementation rather than the policy itself.

The policy has also sparked an "arms race" amongst Conservative members, with proposals such as militarizing the Channel appearing, likely influenced by fears of electoral challenges from right-wing entities like Reform UK.

This stronger stance on migration may alienate centrist Tory MPs, many of whom supported the bill reluctantly. Former Attorney General Jeremy Wright highlighted concerns within the party about adhering to international law and the sovereignty involved in interpreting compliance, reflecting the unease that could eventually lead to a tipping point for more moderate Conservatives.
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