DAVID Cameron tonight threatened to take tough action against European judges if they thwarted the Rwanda plan.
The Foreign Secretary tried to convince concerned Tory MPs of his stance on the controversial European Court of Human Rights.
Sources said he stressed the importance of pursuing Rishi Sunak’s new plan for emergency legislation and a new treaty – and then standing up to Strasbourg when pressed.
The ex-PM even criticized his close pal George Osborne for suggesting he was soft on the issue, saying his former chancellor did not know his views on the issue all that well.
Newly knighted Lord Cameron came under scrutiny at a packed meeting of the 1922 Conservative Committee this evening.
Sources at the meeting told The Sun that his opening speech emphasized the importance of stopping the boats – a totemic theme for many Tories.
They said the ex-prime minister insisted he had first-hand experience of the European Court of Human Rights and knew how painful it could be.
Lord Cameron referred to his own fight to disenfranchise prisoners, an ECtHR ban which he continued to oppose as Prime Minister.
Last week Mr Osborne said the former prime minister’s return to government was a signal that the exit from the ECHR demanded by some Tories was off the table given his stance.
Many other Tory MPs, including the sacked Home Secretary Suella Braverman, want Mr Sunak to go further and not apply any ECHR or human rights laws in migration policy.
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick was also said to be privately pushing the idea, but faced resistance from cabinet colleagues.
Supreme Court justices struck down the Rwanda plan last week, saying it violated several international treaties as well as domestic law.
The prime minister sought to salvage the policy, which has already cost £140 million, by announcing new laws declaring the East African nation “safe” to bar domestic courts from rejecting appeals.
Today government lawyer Lord Pannick was spotted holding a draft of the new deportation law to Rwanda.
The grainy image appeared to show a reference to the Human Rights Act, leading to speculation that Mr Sunak might be prepared to disregard parts of it.
Mr Sunak also vowed to ignore the ECtHR’s so-called “pajama injunctions”, in which anonymous Strasbourg judges block last-minute scupper clearance flights.
Lord Cameron likened his address to Tory MPs today to “a bit like going back to school” and was enthusiastically received by backbenchers.
Sir Oliver Heald described his performance as “vintage”, while Robert Halfon described it as “classic”.