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Rishi Sunak is attemping to quell a Tory rebellion over his Rwanda Bill ahead of a crunch vote tonight.
The Prime Minister invited the centrist New Conservative group to breakfast at No 10 as he seeks to win over would-be rebels.
Right-wing Tory MPs have warned major changes are needed to the Safety of Rwanda Bill, which is aimed at getting the flagship asylum policy up and running.
A revolt by 29 Conservative MPs could be enough to defeat the Bill at its first Commons hurdle – something that has not happened to a piece of Government legislation since 1986.
Illegal migration minister Michael Tomlinson – who replaced Robert Jenrick after he resigned in protest at the legislation – this morning insisted he is “very much in listening mode”.
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He told Sky News: “They’re not pesky rebels – they are respected colleagues who I have worked with.”
Mr Tomlinson said he is a former member of the European Research Group (ERG), one of the Tory factions critical of the Bill, and “I know the concerns that colleagues have”.
“I knew the desire of colleagues right across the breadth of our broad church in the parliamentary party. What do they want? They want this Bill to work.
“The way I’m going to help to persuade them to support the Bill and to support us as we pass the Bill through Parliament is to help show that the Bill is actually going to work, because that’s what we all want.
“We all want this legislation to work. And that is what I’m determined to do.”
ERG leader Mark Francois has called for Mr Sunak to withdraw the Bill and rewrite it to toughen it up, rather than put it to a vote today.
But in a boost to the PM, the One Nation caucus of around 100 centrist Tory MPs have said they will recommend backing the Bill.
However the group’s chairman Damian Green said its MPs would oppose any amendments that would risk the UK breaching the rule of law and its international obligations.
The Bill allows ministers to disapply the Human Rights Act but does not go as far as overriding the European Convention on Human Rights, which Tory hardliners have demanded.
Home Secretary James Cleverly used an article in the Telegraph to defend the plan.
He said: “After Brexit, the United Kingdom is a fully sovereign country once again – and of course we must control our borders. Anyone who agrees must support the Rwanda Bill.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer dismissed the Rwanda scheme as a “gimmick” and piece of political “performance art”.
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