The “small boats election”?

Paul Cotterill
2 min readSep 20, 2023

1/ I tend to agree with Andrew Marr that the election will come in May 2024, but I think the idea that “success” in sending people to Rwanda over the winter will be a key determinant is completely off mark, irrespective of the Supreme Court judgment this Autumn

2/ This section (see below), in particular, suggesting people arriving on the south coast will be on planes to Rwanda in days, seems to be misunderstand completely the nature of the UK-Rwanda deal signed in Kigali in April 2022.

3/ Sec 3 of the deal is clear that the UK can request relocation, but that Rwanda has a right to say no, and that process doesn’t happen in a few days, not least given the list of info about each person the UK is wants to “relocate” that the UK must provide (set out at sec 5)

4/ Frankly, Rwanda has taken the UK for a ride here, and I suspect has no real intention of ever accepting “relocations”, though it may find it politically useful to take one or two. They’ve had their millions upfront, and the agreement does not require them to take anybody.

5/ So I think Marr’s idea that the Rwanda plan will be a success is built on (neocolonial?) ignorance on his and Tory MPs’ parts of the deal Patel signed off, though he is right about other reasons for a May 2024 election

6/ Of course, Labour should want an early election, and it should be pointing out from now that, two PMs ago, the Tories were given a mandate till May 2024, given that is what the Fixed Term Parliaments Act said at the time, only for that to be abolished and the dates changed.

7/ It is, quietly, a constitutional outrage that Johnson got away with extending the Tory term of office retrospectively, and saying so should be part of Labour’s “your time is up” narrative.



Paul Cotterill

Secretary General, Habermasian Labour (UK). Indefatigably focused on the promotion of ethical discourse in the public sphere, except when there's cricket.