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Party Chair of UK Steps Down Over Rwanda Bill Vote

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Two deputy chairmen of the British ruling Conservative Party resigned Tuesday evening as the lawmakers in the United Kingdom (UK) voted on amendments to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s emergency legislation on immigration.

Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith announced their resignations after voting in favour of an amendment to the legislation. They wrote in a joint letter to the prime minister regarding the amendments that “whilst our main wish is to strengthen the legislation, this means that in order to vote for amendments we will therefore need to offer you our resignations.”

In April 2022, the UK reached a deal with Rwanda, under which illegal immigrants and asylum seekers would be sent to the east African country to have their claims processed there. If successful, they would be granted permanent residency in Rwanda rather than being allowed to return to the UK. However, the scheme has met with resistance. The first flight scheduled to take seven migrants to Rwanda in June 2022 was canceled after an intervention by the European Court of Human Rights. Two months ago, the UK’s Supreme Court ruled that the government’s scheme was unlawful.

The British government later introduced an emergency legislation that would override domestic and international human rights law, and Members of Parliament (MPs) voted in favor of the new bill last month. On Tuesday, British lawmakers rejected amendments to the bill proposed by the Labour Party by 336 votes to 262. A main vote on the bill is expected on Wednesday. Jane Stevenson, another Conservative MP, also offered her resignation as a Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) over the vote on Tuesday evening.

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