We have been too reluctant about migration, says Suella Braverman

by MMC
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  • By Paul Seddon
  • Political journalist

Suella Braverman said politicians were “too delicate” to act on immigration, in a hard-hitting speech to a Conservative conference.

In a speech to party activists, the interior minister said moving to a richer country had become a “realistic prospect” for “billions of people”.

She also said a “hurricane” of migration was coming to the UK.

Two MPs from a different wing of the Conservative party questioned his comments, with one saying they were unhelpful.

In front of a packed conference room, Ms Braverman promised to do “whatever it takes” to stop small boat crossings, adding that immigration was “already too high”.

The Interior Minister’s speech was full of rousing rhetoric, but lighter on new policy.

However, throughout most of her speech, she seemed to relish her self-appointed role as someone who tells it like she sees it.

She was applauded for announcing that the government would soon start closing hotels for asylum seekers.

And she told the conference that politicians had failed to properly deal with migration and had been “far too reluctant to be vilified as racist”.

The “unprecedented” migration, she added, is “one of the most powerful transformations of our world.”

“The winds of change that carried my own parents across the world in the 20th century were a mere gust compared to the coming hurricane.

“Because today, the option of moving from a poorer to a richer country is not just a dream for billions of people, it is a completely realistic prospect.”

Last year, more than 81,130 asylum applications were made in the UK, while 1.2 million people emigrated to the UK.

Ms Braverman will have deliberately chosen provocative language for her opening speech.

His description of potential migration as a coming “hurricane” is likely to draw particular criticism, particularly from Labor and those who disagree with his recent speech to a US think tankin which she questions whether the application of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention is “fit for our modern times”.

Speaking to the American Enterprise Institute, she warned that countries would face an “existential” threat if they failed to control their borders.

Former Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said politicians need to be responsible when it comes to language, saying, “I think talking about hurricanes or extreme weather isn’t helpful unless you explain why.”

“We know what is happening in the world, with climate change, with the war in the sub-Saharan part of Africa. We are seeing massive population movements, there is no doubt about it.

“But we need to talk about why before we start using alarmist language. Let’s do it in a way that really understands the scale of the problem.”

Another Conservative MP, Alicia Kearns, said: “I recognize there are legitimate concerns, but I think we need to be very careful not to create a situation where we demonize minorities or those who are vulnerable.”

Speaking shortly before Ms Braverman, Justice Secretary Alex Chalk announced that the government would explore the possibility of leasing prison space in foreign countries for prisoners who cannot be accommodated in UK prisons.

Heckler kicked out of the hall

The speech also saw a fellow Conservative politician thrown out of the conference room for heckling him, after he called “gender ideology” “poison”.

Andrew Boff, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, was filmed calling the comments “rubbish”, before being escorted out of the conference room by security.

The incident occurred during a part of the speech in which she said “gender ideology, white privilege, anti-British history” had become “entrenched” in British businesses and in certain parts of the public sector.

Speaking to the BBC after being sacked, Mr Boff, a boss of the conservative LGBT+ group, described his comments as “disgusting”, adding that he hoped they would not “become part of the rhetoric” in the run-up to the next general election. .

Mr Buckland has since said Mr Boff had had his conference pass withdrawn – but the Home Secretary has called for him to be “forgiven and allowed to attend the conference”.

Mr Buckland questioned the security response, adding that he hoped the situation could be resolved.

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