Rishi Sunak has urged Labour not to oppose his new Rwanda legislation as the Prime Minister battles to keep his own Tory MPs onside in a major test for his leadership.
The Prime Minister urged Sir Keir Starmer to “rise above political games” and “act in the national interest” by supporting the emergency Bill aiming to revive the asylum plans.
But Conservatives from both the right and the left of the party are considering whether to oppose it in a crunch vote on Tuesday, with neither camp totally satisfied by the offering.
Labour will whip to vote against the Bill, meaning a rebellion by just 28 Tories could deliver a humiliating defeat for the Government.
Sir Keir’s party accused the Tories of “begging for our votes” to pass the legislation to help revive their £290 million Rwanda “gimmick”.
The Labour leader is also stepping up his attacks and will use a speech to accuse the Tories of being unable to govern while their warring factions are “fighting like rats in a sack”.
But Mr Sunak insisted he will take a “significant step” towards his promise to the voters that he will “stop the boats”, which he said the public cares deeply about.
He argued in a statement that the Opposition is “not fit to govern”, adding: “This week, Labour needs for once to rise above political games.
“They need for once to stop acting in their short-term interests. They need to act in the national interest.”
Labour argued that the Prime Minister trying to shift the focus onto the Opposition was a desperate move.
“That the Prime Minister is begging for our votes proves his tired, chaotic government cannot deliver for our country,” a party spokesman said.
Mr Sunak’s efforts to prevent his divided MPs rebelling on the legislation hit a snag when it was revealed that a legal assessment has been given it only a “50% at best” chance of success of getting removal flights off to Rwanda.
More moderate Tories are concerned about telling courts they must find that the East African nation is “safe”.
But some on the right want to go further in disapplying the European Convention on Human Rights. Both wings are seeking their own legal advice.
Sir Keir will use a speech on the same day as the vote to argue that the Tories are “all swanning around self-importantly, in their factions”.
He is expected to say that while they are “fighting like rats in a sack” there is a “country out here that isn’t being governed”.