Suella Braverman has savaged Rishi Sunak.
In a direct challenge to the prime minister’s authority, the former home secretary said forthcoming emergency legislation must allow the government to opt out the European Convention on Human Rights on illegal immigration issues.
In a personal statement in the Commons, she said: “It is now or never. The Conservative Party faces electoral oblivion in a matter of months if we introduce yet another bill destined to fail.
“Do we fight for sovereignty or do we let our party die?”
She added: “If we summon the political courage to do what is truly necessary to fight for the British people, we will regain their trust. And if the prime minister leads that fight, he has my total support.”
Braverman delivering her resignation statement in the Commons.
Braverman, who was sacked by Sunak in last month’s cabinet reshuffle, also accused the PM of dragging his feet in bringing the emergency legislation to parliament.
She pointed out that it is now three weeks since the Supreme Court ruled the government’s aim of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda is illegal.
Braverman said the UK faced a “crisis” of illegal immigration, which threatened community cohesion and national security.
She said: “The British people all understand this, the question is does the government, and will it now finally act to stop it?
“The prime minister rightly committed to doing whatever it takes to stop the boats, and he should be commended for dedicating more time and toil than any of his predecessors to this endeavour.”
However, Braverman said Sunak had rejected her attempts to toughen up the government’s immigration policies.
She added: “Following defeat in the Supreme Court, the prime minister has finally agreed to introduce emergency legislation, and I welcome his decision.
“But it is now three weeks on from that judgment and we are yet to see a bill. I’m told it’s publication is imminent, but we are running out of time. This is an emergency and we need to see the bill now.”
Her incendiary comments once again exposed the deep splits within the Conservative Party on how to bring down net migration, which official figures revealed last week was around 750,000 in 2022.
While right-wing Tory backbenchers want the government’s emergency legislation to opt out of the ECHR, the party’s moderate MPs have said that would be a “red line” for them.
Ministers on both sides of the argument are thought to be prepared to resign over the issue, which will come to a head when the legislation is finally published.