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Tory Deputy Chair’s ‘Pesky Peers’ Rwanda Rant Backfires As Sky News Host Recalls He Abstained Vote

Sky News host Sophie Ridge stumped newly appointed Conservative Deputy Chair Jonathan Gullis during a tirade about the “pesky peers” blocking the government’s Rwanda bill by reminding him that he didn’t vote for it either. Gullis appeared on Ridge’s show

Sky News host Sophie Ridge stumped newly appointed Conservative Deputy Chair Jonathan Gullis during a tirade about the “pesky peers” blocking the government’s Rwanda bill by reminding him that he didn’t vote for it either.

Gullis appeared on Ridge’s show Politics Hub Wednesday to criticise the members of the House of Lords for standing in the way of getting the bill passed before the host pressing him on his own record.

Gullis: “[The government has a] very clear plan to get people deported to Rwanda, because if you enter this country illegally, you will not be able to claim asylum. But those pesky peers in the House of Lords, predominantly Labour, and Labour MPs and Sir Keir Starmer in the House of Commons, are continuing to block any attempts that we make in order to get this Rwanda policy off the ground. Because one, it will act as an effective deterrent, but you need it, as with all the measures, to make sure we have that in our plans.”

Ridge: “Hang on… You abstained in the Rwanda vote, didn’t you?”

Gullis: “Well, actually, I voted in favour of the National Housing Borders Act and voted for the Illegal Migration Act. And with the Rwanda bill, what I made very clear was that I wanted to see the bill passed. So I didn’t block or deter it at any point.

Ridge: “But you abstained on it, didn’t you?”

Gullis: “Well, I suggested amendments, Sophie, and obviously that’s a matter of public record.”

Ridge: “Did you abstain or not on the Rwanda bill?”

Gullis: “Sophie, that’s a matter of public record. I did choose to abstain on that particular bill.”

Ridge: “But you’re one of the pesky ones, you can’t blame the pesky Labour peers. You didn’t vote for it either.”

Gullis: “I can actually, Sophie, because at the end of the day, I haven’t voted, like Labour have over 90 times, to block the Rwanda scheme from being able to take place.”

Ridge: “You abstained on it. You didn’t vote for it. You didn’t vote for it.”

Gullis: “Sophie, there’s a very clear difference here between saying that you want something to work, you believe in Rwanda, as I do, and I want Rwanda to work, as I do…”

Ridge: “So why don’t you vote for it?”

Gullis: “…the Prime Minister does. But obviously I had, with that particular bill, a couple of amendments that I wanted to see be adopted. They weren’t adopted. I was true to my word. I said that I was going to not block the bill, unlike the Labour Party, to continue to block it every turn, every corner. And I continue to believe that Rwanda will be the effective deterrent alongside the measures that we’ve already done, which is obviously making sure we get France stopping the boats from taking off and making sure we get returns to deals with countries like Albania, which has seen a 93 percent reduction in Albanian arrivals coming here illegally. The Labour Party, what do they want to do, Sophie? They want to join the EU quota-sharing scheme…”

Ridge: “Did you get it right the first time?”

Gullis: “…which would potentially see over 100,000 illegal migrants come to the UK, on top of the ones that are already arriving illegally. Keir Starmer is Mr Free Movement, let’s not forget. So I won’t be taking any lectures from the Labour Party.”

Ridge: “Did you get it right the first time when you decided not to vote for the Rwanda legislation because you knew it wouldn’t be a great deterrent. And look at it. It isn’t a great deterrent. We’ve had record numbers of people crossing the channel in small dinghies.”

Gullis: “Sophie, I have never said anything along the lines that you’ve inferred.”

The legislative tussle over Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s controversial plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is ongoing after the House of Commons decisively voted against all 10 amendments introduced by the House of Lords to the deportation bill. The move stripped the bill of changes aimed at addressing safety and legal concerns, reverting it to its original form.

The bill, designed to sidestep Supreme Court objections to the deportation plan, now heads back to the Lords for further consideration. Amidst internal party pressures and challenges to his leadership, Sunak remains committed to launching the first deportation flight in spring, viewing the plan as a cornerstone of his strategy to curb unauthorised migration and bolster the Conservative government’s policy delivery ahead of a general election.

Watch above on Sky News.

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