“Jonathan Gullis, Tory Deputy Chair Criticizes Labour Over ‘Blocking’ Rwanda Bill He Missed Voting On”

The Tories’ new Deputy Chairman attempted to blame “pesky” Labour peers blocking the Rwanda Bill – only to be reminded he didn’t vote for it either.

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Jonathan Gullis’s awkward encounter came in one of his first media interviews since being appointed to fill the role of the former Tory turned Reform MP, Lee Anderson.

Mr Gullis launched into a fierce attack on Labour as the number of asylum seekers crossing the Channel so far reached a record high – despite the PM’s promises to stop the boats. The new Tory Deputy Chair said “pesky peers in the House of Lords” and Labour MPs were “continuing to block any attempts that we make” to get the Rwanda policy off the ground.

But it was quickly pointed out by Sky News’s Sophy Ridge he failed to vote for the legislation and abstained at the second reading of the Bill back in December. “You abstained in the Rwanda vote, didn’t you?,” the presenter asked.

Mr Gullis replied: “Well, actually, I voted in favour of the Nationalising 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. But I suggested amendments and obviously that’s a matter of public record.”

Pressed again whether he abstained, he eventually admitted: “Sophy, that’s a matter of public record. I did choose to abstain on that particular Bill.”

In January Mr Gullis also posted a 300-word statement on Twitter /X saying he could not vote for the Government on the Rwanda Bill without it being amended. He said: “When the Safety of Rwanda Bill was first introduced to the House of Commons, other colleagues and I chose to abstain at Second Reading.

“We did so because despite having always supported the deportation of illegal migrants to Rwanda, we were concerned the legislation as drafted needed tightening.” He added: “Sadly, despite significant support from my colleagues for our amendments, we were unable to convince the Government to them.”

Last week the PM’s Rwanda deportation plan was hit by a fresh delay after suffering seven defeats in a row in the House of Lords. No10 had hoped the Bill would clear Parliament in time for the Easter recess, but it will now not return to the Commons until mid-April at the earliest.

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