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Tory MPs Flock To Moderate Wing To Resist Scrapping Of Human Rights Laws

Former Cabinet minister Damian Green leads the One Nation group (Alamy)

3 min read

The One Nation group of moderate Conservative MPs has seen its membership increase in recent weeks as they prepare to push back against calls for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to ignore human rights law. 

The group, which is led by former Cabinet minister Damian Green, has 106 registered Tory MPs. This has grown since the summer, when the number of members was in the 80s.

The group's membership has been boosted by a number of Conservative MPs joining after losing their jobs in the Prime Minister's recent ministerial reshuffle, as well as some who have joined to become more closely aligned with the group, PoliticsHome understands.

The group, which positions itself at the centre-ground of Tory politics and whose members generally have more socially liberal views than MPs elsewhere in the party, has become vocal in recent weeks as new issues have emerged that divide the parliamentary Conservative party.

Moderate MPs are publicly fighting against the right of the Conservative party which wants the government to scrap international laws enshrining human rights following the Supreme Court's ruling last week that the policy of deporting migrants to Rwanda was in breach of a number of treaties and therefore unlawful. 

Last week, Green accused the former home secretary Suella Braverman of "the most unconservative statement I have ever seen from a Conservative politician" after she said Sunak should disapply "the entirety" of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) and all other international relevant human rights law in order to revive the Rwanda policy.

On Friday Green likened Braverman's demand, which is endorsed by a group of MPs on the right of the Conservative party, to the behaviour of "dictators" Russian President Vladimir Putin and China's leader Xi Jinping.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Conservatives believe in a democratic country run by the rule of law. Dictators – Xi and Putin – would prefer to have the state completely untrammelled by any law. As a democrat I oppose it, but quite specifically as a Conservative."

PoliticsHome reported this summer One Nation group plans to become more muscular ahead of a key period for the Tory party. Many of its MPs felt that the moderate wing of the Conservative party needed to become more organised and vocal in order to influence Sunak's general election campaign and play a significant role in choosing his successor.

The group's decision to speak with a louder voice has been met with opposition from some MPs on the right of the Conservative party.

Dame Andrea Jenkyns on Tuesday said Conservative MPs who felt Tories on the right were a "fringe radical" within the party should "sod off to the Lib Dems".

Speaking on GB News, she said: "This One Nation Group make up the majority of the parliamentary party but these are the ones who didn’t want Brexit, who didn’t want Boris, who didn’t want Liz Truss, so they’re not really in tune with the British public.

“Isn’t Damian Green the one who got deselected by his own association back in February?

“I don’t think the Tory party are going far enough [to the right] actually. If you look at the group, they’ve never accepted Liz [Truss], they never accepted Boris and it’s about time that we started having policies that were in our manifesto and that speak to people."

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