In the spring of 2022, Rishi Sunak, then UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, pored over details of a tough new immigration policy devised by then PM Boris Johnson and home secretary Priti Patel: to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. Sunak and his Treasury team didn’t think much of the policy, privately raising concerns with Downing Street and Cabinet colleagues about whether it would work and if it provided value for money, six people involved in the discussions said. Sunak also had objections on ethical grounds, they said.Now Prime Minister, Sunak has adopted the Rwanda plan as his flagship migration policy as he seeks to stave off pressure from the right of his governing Conservative Party and find divisions to close a 20-point polling deficit with the Labour opposition. That means his political fate may now hinge on making work a policy he never loved – something members of his own government fear may turn out to be a political miscalculation.The signs aren’t good. The government has paid Rwanda $301 million so far, and no deportations have yet taken place. The UK courts have ruled the plan unlawful, and the two senior ministers in charge of the policy left the Cabinet demanding a harder line still.With a first vote on legislation to implement the policy due in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Sunak is spending the weekend trying to quell rebellions from both the right and centre of his party that pull him in different directions. Some Tory lawmakers are plotting to oust him. Allies of Liz Truss have held talks with colleagues about writing letters of no confidence, and some want Simon Clarke, a right-wing backbencher, to challenge him, people familiar with those conversations said. Truss’s spokesman said she’s not plotting, while Clarke said he wants the government to succeed.Yet even some of Sunak’s own inner circle wonder how he finds himself in such a mess. His critics say the answer lies in the journey he has taken, hardening his position on immigration in an effort to satisfy few Tories.Record levels of net immigration haven’t helped. In the Treasury, he pushed for more foreign graduates to be allowed to stay post-study, for migrant workers to be able to bring dependents, and for a lower salary threshold to enable more foreign workers, all in pursuit of economic growth.Sunak’s office declined to comment on his past views. The PM this week announced a clampdown on legal migration, including a higher salary threshold and less leeway to bring dependents, in an effort to deliver a record cut to net migration.