1 November 2022

Suella Braverman is yet another Tory home secretary with no regard for asylum seekers

Braverman was recently slammed for claiming that southern England was facing an “invasion” of illegal immigrants.

Following Priti Patel’s resignation as home secretary in September, you may have been forgiven for thinking that whoever took over that position couldn’t possibly do a worse job. But following recent news that alludes to a complete disregard for asylum seekers, Braverman is giving Patel a run for her money.

Recently, Braverman had been urged to explain whether she refused to book hotel space for asylum seekers because “they were in Tory voting areas.” The controversial home secretary also faced fresh allegations over the failure to prevent overcrowding of the Manston processing centre in Kent – leaving thousands of people in “wretched” conditions. 

A government source told LBC Radio that Braverman was given options of available hotels to ease the pressure but refused to approve those in conservative constituencies. Braverman did approve three hotels at last, but they are in Labour-held seats. The Liberal Democrats told LBC this was “yet another example of the Conservatives putting their party’s interests ahead of the national interest and the rule of law”. 

“Suella Braverman has yet more serious questions to answer about her conduct as home secretary,” said Christine Jardine, the party’s Cabinet Office spokesperson. “Now more than ever there must be a Cabinet Office Inquiry, this is the final straw,” she added. Braverman was also accused of a “deliberate” decision to allow the abysmal conditions at the Kent asylum seeker centre in a bid to make the UK an attractive destination for refugees.

According to The Guardian, on Sunday, around 4,000 asylum seekers were crammed into the site – which is designed for 1,600 people – triggering outbreaks of diseases including diphtheria, scabies and MSRA. The former home secretary Patel has blamed her successor for the asylum centre crisis, making it known she did book hotel rooms for asylum seekers while in charge. 

“She refused to sign off on them [hotels] and the reason is because they were in Tory voting areas,” the source told LBC. In a Commons statement on Monday, Ms Braverman denied she “ignored” legal advice to find hotel space. And she provoked further questions by admitting she “refused to prematurely release” asylum seekers who had somewhere else to stay.

Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, insisted allegations about his boss were false, telling Sky News that “Suella Braverman and her predecessor Patel were procuring more hotels.” Today, Braverman told a cabinet meeting that “large numbers” of people had been taken from Manston to other accommodation in order to “relieve pressure.”

Sunak then responded by telling his cabinet in a meeting that the UK would “always be a compassionate, welcoming country,” but added that the country’s ability to offer a welcome to refugees from nations like Ukraine “depends on having control of our borders.”

He did not reprimand Braverman for her use of the word “invasion” to describe the arrival of asylum-seekers on the Kent coast, and his official spokesperson was unable to say whether the PM regards the term as “inappropriate.”

When asked if he would describe the situation as an “invasion,” the PM’s spokesperson said: “The home secretary was seeking to express the sheer scale of the challenge that faces the country, with people — including a significant proportion of economic migrants — seeking to make this journey.”

  • Writer Chris Saunders
  • Banner Image Credit BBC News

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