Rishi Sunak hosts a press conference at Downing Street the morning after he saw off a Tory rebellion to win the Commons’ backing for his flagship Safety of Rwanda Bill.
Rishi Sunak has faced a backlash after urging the unelected House of Lords not to block his Rwanda plan.
In a press conference on Thursday, the prime minister pleaded with peers not to “frustrate the will of the people” as he said the UK should be “taking control of our borders”. Both phrase are an echo of Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy at the 2019 general election.
Sunak, speaking the morning after he saw off a Tory rebellion to win the Commons’ backing for his flagship Safety of Rwanda Bill, said passing the legislation was now “an urgent national priority”.
He said: “There is now only one question: will the opposition in the appointed House of Lords try and frustrate the will of the people as expressed by the elected House or will they get on board and do the right thing? It is as simple as that.”
The draft legislation will now go to the Lords, where its opponents will try to amend it or kill it altogether.
But Sunak was labelled a “hypocrite” for his comments since the prime minister has yet to face the electorate, having become leader of the Conservative Party leader following a ballot of party members, and then only after the failure of the Liz Truss premiership.
Labour MP Jess Phillips said: “The will of the people which Mr Sunak has never actually tested being as he is unelected at the PM. Perhaps he would like to test that will?”
How dare Rishi Sunak tell the Lords not to ‘frustrate the will of the people’ on Rwanda Bill? This cruel and unlawful policy is the will of the Tory party’s demented right wing. The people do not want it. Nor do they want an unelected PM held hostage by Tory zealots
— Mary Riddell (@MaryRiddell) January 18, 2024
The will of the people which Mr Sunak has never actually tested being as he is unelected at the PM. Perhaps he would like to test that will? https://t.co/TfstncVRcd
— Jess Phillips MP (@jessphillips) January 18, 2024
This is - even if you ignore the fascist overtones - a bit rich coming from a Prime Minister who has never been chosen by the people; who was rejected by his own members in favour of, yes, Liz Truss; and whose Party is polling at 20%. pic.twitter.com/ZJBX6Vat4X
— Jo Maugham (@JolyonMaugham) January 18, 2024
In his ridiculous Rwanda speech this morning...
UNELECTED PM Rishi Sunak took a swipe at the House of Lords for being.....UNELECTED....#GeneralElectionNow#CarolsVidBoxpic.twitter.com/lobKQWocbv
— Carol Vorderman (@carolvorders) January 18, 2024
The absolute front of unelected PM Rishi Sunak using the term ‘unelected’ to attack the House of Lords pic.twitter.com/YRZdRGZThV
— Toby Earle 🇺🇦 Threads tobyontv (@TobyonTV) January 18, 2024
Sunak the unelected PM telling us the Rwanda bill is ‘the will of the people’ The bill was not in the Tory manifesto and wasn’t presented to the people at the last general election. The REAL will of the people is a #GeneralElectionN0W !
— Simply Red ❤️ (@SimplyRedHQ) January 18, 2024
Sad to say, the phrase ‘will of the people’ has now collapsed under the weight of horseshit that has been attributed to it. It will no longer be available for use by unelected PM Sunak and his fellow shyster Tory MPs as cover for their nasty ideas and autocratic tendencies.
— sarah murphy (@13sarahmurphy) January 18, 2024
Erm, did *unelected* Rishi Sunak just refer to the "unelected House of Lords"?
The second chamber his party has stuffed to the rafters with their cronies?
— Real Britain Ros (@realbritainros) January 18, 2024