Rishi Sunak doesn’t actually do irony.
If he does so, he may see the flaw in his plan to ask the House of Lords not to block the decision of the “elected” House of Commons to support the Rwanda Security Bill.
A rather rich one came from an unelected prime minister who, while he managed to elect a Tory member to become party leader, managed to lose out to Liz Truss.
It’s no wonder he’s faced accusations of hypocrisy since embarking on this political path.
But that wasn’t the only misstep in the prime minister’s latest effort to finally halt deportation flights to Rwanda.
By deciding to go to war against the Lords, Sunak has succeeded in opening a new wing in the ongoing Tory civil war.
Talk News Uk understands that Conservative colleagues – many of whom are already highly skeptical of Rwanda’s policies – are furious with Sunak’s approach.
One said: “There is a way to get the House of Lords on board and standing in front of the rostrum deriding them is not the way to do it, especially when not all members of the Conservative Party fully agree with this policy.
“You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
“It also means that Labor, the Democratic Party and cross-party colleagues will make more of an effort to join in and try to reject the bill. He just galvanized the opposition.”
Rishi Sunak called on his colleagues not to “thwart the will of the people”.STEFAN ROUSSEAU via Getty Images
Referring to the Tory Party uprising over Rwanda last week, a Lords insider said: “Conservative peers are as divided as their MPs on this. Sunak should be more worried about blue-on-blue attacks than the Lords blocking his bill, and that is not going to happen.”
A senior Conservative saw another weakness in the PM’s strategy.
“If you want to argue that an unelected second chamber should not block legislation supported by the DPR, it might help if your policy is to have an elected second chamber,” they said. “But that’s not his policy, which actually weakens his argument.”
Despite ultimately winning support from MPs for the Rwandan plan, it has been a difficult week for the prime minister, with senior Conservatives publicly declaring that his plan to “stop boats” taking asylum seekers across the English Channel will not work.
Recent polls showing that the Tories are as unpopular as they were under Liz Truss and are heading for an electoral disaster like 1997 show that voters have taken notice.
Meanwhile, Keir Starmer’s decision to once again take the lead on immigration at prime minister’s questions shows the Labor leader’s belief that his party is now more trusted than the Conservatives.
A senior Labor insider said: “The reason we are doing this is because we are quite happy with our position on this, but also because the way Sunak has handled this issue has been so farcical.
“This is the epitome of a government that talks, keeps talking, but doesn’t deliver results. If you want to continue to highlight the importance of illegal immigration, you better fix it.”
Inevitably, complaints also emerged this week about more letters of distrust in Sunak’s leadership to the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.
Talk of 30 people taking part – still far short of the 53 needed to trigger a vote – may be overblown, but it once again highlights how precarious the PM’s position is.
A senior Tory said: “You can look at every election in the last 100 years and every time, the party that is most trusted on the economy and has the best leader has won.
“The public thinks he’s a geek and they don’t mind that, so he should lean on that rather than immigration.
“It seems he has no political memory other than his time in parliament. He sees Boris winning by saying ‘get Brexit done’ and thinks that all he needs to do is say ‘get Rwanda done’, but that’s wrong. It seems like he doesn’t really believe in anything.”
A Conservative Party veteran insisted that despite the gloom hanging over his party, Sunak could still spring a surprise.
He said: “Rishi is safe until the elections, which may be held on November 14. And I think we will be the biggest party.”
It could be argued that this opinion is not the majority view among Tory MPs. But after another dismal week in 10th place, the prime minister would be happy to swap his right hand for that scenario.