Rishi Sunak's flagship Rwanda policy has cleared the Commons after disgruntled Conservative backbenchers voted for the plan rather than risk destabilising the government. 

Labour said the Prime Minister was "in office, but not in power."

The SNP described the policy as "repugnant." Humza Yousaf said the seven Scottish Tory MPs who backed the Bill should "thoroughly ashamed of themselves."

The Lib Dems said the vote was "no victory for Rishi Sunak" and called for an early general election

However, No 10 will be happy with the result, which saw Mr Sunak win with a majority of 44. 

Though unamended, the legislation now faces a challenge in the Lords before coming back to the Commons. 

READ MORE: Tories in turmoil: Sunak seeks to appease rebels ahead of Rwanda vote

Just 11 MPs voted against the government at the third reading, including the former home secretary Suella Braverman and Robert Jenrick, the former immigration minister.

Another 18 abstained.

The decision to back Mr Sunak came at an eleventh hour meeting of around 45 right-wing Tory MPs in Parliament. One source told reporters: “The majority of those people who spoke in the room have decided to back the Bill at third reading."

Another rebel told The Times: “We feared that defeating the bill would topple the government.”

It wasn't completely plain sailing for Mr Sunak, earlier in the day 61 Tory MPs defied the government to vote for an amendment designed to allow UK ministers to ignore emergency injunctions by European judges.

A similar number had voted for rebel amendments on Tuesday. 

During the debate, Home Secretary James Cleverly said he had “respect” for the Tory MPs who voted against the government. 

Speaking in the Commons during the debate, he said: “We are united in the agreement that stopping the boats… and getting (the) Rwanda partnership up and running is of the utmost importance.

“And having a debate about how to get the policy right is of course what this House is for, that is our collective job, and I respect my good friends and colleagues on my side for putting forward amendments in good faith in order to do what they believe will strengthen the Bill.”

The minister said the Bill sends an unambiguously clear message that if you enter the United Kingdom illegally you cannot stay. This Bill has been meticulously drafted to end the merry-go-round of legal challenges.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the Prime Minister’s authority was in “tatters.” 

"He’s in office but not in power," she said. "No one agrees with him on his policy. And the real weaknesses is that he doesn’t even agree with it himself.

“A Prime Minister who is so weak he has lost control of the asylum system, lost control of our borders and lost any control of the Tory party.”

Taking to X, the site formerly known as Twitter, shortly after the vote, Mr Yousaf said the Rwanda Bill was "the most repugnant piece of legislation to be passed by the House of Commons in recent history."

The First Minister said it was "a further demonstration that Westminster's values are not Scotland's values.

"And that's why I'm very proud of my SNP MP colleagues for voting against it. Every single Scottish Tory MP that voted for the Rwanda bill should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

"In Scotland, we have a very proud history of welcoming refugees to Scotland, those who are fleeing war fleeing persecution.

"Let us together, say with one voice, this legislation is not in Scotland's name."

Green MSP Maggie Chapman said the policy was "cruelty personified."

"It is a nasty bit of Trumpian political theatre that is designed to inflict fear, anxiety and humiliation on people who have already suffered a great deal," she added.

“Tonight is no victory for Rishi Sunak, no matter how he might try to twist it," Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael MP said.

“He has proved again and again that he cannot lead his own party, let alone the country."

The Orkney and Shetland MP called for a general election "to bring an end to this shambolic government once and for all".

The Rwanda policy dominated proceedings in Westminster on Wednesday.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told MPs that of the 5,000 migrants due to be flown to the East African country, the government had "lost contact with 85%."

He asked the Conservative leader if he had “found them yet?”

Mr Sunak said the UK Government’s actions had reduced “the number of people coming here by over a third last year, removed over 20,000 people from this country back to their home countries, carried out 70% more illegal enforcement raids, arrested hundreds of people, closed down thousands of bank accounts and processed over 100,000 cases, the biggest number in over 20 years.”

He added: “That’s because on this side of the House we want to stop the boats, we have a plan, it’s working, and with him we would just go back to square one.”

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The SNP’s Stephen Flynn also pushed the Prime Minister on Rwanda.

He said: “When it comes to the Rwanda bill, the reality is that if you want to stop the smuggler gangs, you should introduce safe and legal routes.

"But instead, the Prime Minister’s seeking to weaponise some of the most vulnerable people in society. It is straight out of the cruel and callous right-wing extremist playbook.

“His time in office is fast approaching its conclusion. Does he seriously want this to be his legacy?"

Mr Sunak insisted that his scheme was “fair and compassionate.”

He told MPs: “It's not right that some people jump the queue. That they take away our resources to help those who are the most compassionate, that need our most help, and are exploited by gangs.

“And many of them lose their lives making these dangerous crossings. So I completely disagree with the honourable gentleman. The fair and the compassionate thing to do is to break these criminal gangs and that's why we're going to stop the boats.”

Despite no asylum seekers being sent to Rwanda, the UK has paid £240m to Kigali so far, with a further £50m to come.

Yesterday, the country’s President, Paul Kagame, told the BBC he would return money to the UK if nobody is ever sent to his country.

Asked why he was taking the money, he told the broadcaster: "It's only going to be used if those people will come. If they don't come, we can return the money."