TODAY, we could witness the start of a Tory implosion as a significant number of rebels, including the Tees Valley’s own Sir Simon Clarke, vote for a tougher stance on immigration that removes Britain from its international obligations.

The Tories have been spooked by the latest YouGov poll that shows Labour heading for a 120-seat majority. All of the Tories’ “red wall” gains in our area would be wiped out – in Darlington, for instance, Labour has a lead of 19 points, and the Tories are even predicted to lose Hexham. Only in Rishi Sunak’s Richmond does the poll suggest a Conservative will cling on – and even then, it is only by seven points.

Some Conservatives think that a tougher stance on immigration will counteract this, that it will help complete Brexit by taking back control of our borders, and there are very few people who argue that net migration of 745,000 in 2022 is not too high. Where are they all going to live: that’s seven towns bigger than Darlington in one year!

And at a human level, we must take control: five immigrants – who are people and not just statistics – died desperately sad deaths in the English Channel over the weekend.

Yet, whether we are in or out of the European Convention on Human Rights, there is no evidence the Rwanda policy, which is amazingly expensive, will act as a worthwhile deterrent to those who are already gambling by risking their lives in flimsy boats crossing the world’s busiest shipping lane in January.

It does look like posturing from a party worried that the Reform Party will begin hoovering up its right wing.

Unless the Tories can turn around the cost of living crisis, it may be that voters have no intention of looking again at the party responsible for the chaos of the Johnson years and the trauma of the Truss weeks no matter how tough they try to look on immigration.