Calls for ‘dog-whistling’ Home Secretary to be replaced

Suella Braverman is once again attracting serious rancor among her own party colleagues as well as human rights and humanitarian organisations who are growing increasingly weary of her dog-whistling, misinformation and the use of language designed to provoke base responses from the public. The Home Secretary’s latest outbursts came in the heat of a parliamentary debate on the illegal immigration bill Wednesday 26th April, which eventually saw the controversial bill voted through in the commons in its third reading by 289 votes to 230.

‘Values at odds with our country’

During the debate the Home Secretary made comments saying that those coming to Britain by non-government approved routes ‘have values at odds with our country’. Her comments drew concern from many of her cabinet and backbench colleagues when she echoed earlier comments made days before by fellow Tory MP and Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick, who had suggested at a Policy Exchange event in the city, that:

‘the values and lifestyles’ of people crossing the channel in small boats threaten social cohesion in the UK and that uncontrolled illegal migration threatened to ‘cannibalise the compassion of the UK’.

Many regarded his comments as actually giving impetus to protests outside the temporary accommodation provided to asylum seekers, when he said that recent protests should be heeded by politicians as a warning.

The Home Secretary, Suella Braverman’s comments were described as ‘dog-whistling to the far right’ when she continued her rage against asylum seekers coming to Britain through non-approved routes.

Shockingly the Home Secretary felt totally comfortable making statements which colleagues felt could not be supported by any credible evidence such as:

‘We are seeing heightened levels of criminality when related to the people who’ve come on boats, related to drug dealing, exploitation, prostitution.’

Conservative (Red Wall) MP Jonathan Gullis, remarked live on LBC Radio:

‘I don’t feel comfortable with the mentioning of the values. I don’t think that was appropriate, nor was it right.’

UN Agency repudiates Braverman’s assertions

During the heated commons debate, Braverman was asked whether there were any safe routes for a Sudanese citizen to flee the current conflict in order to seek asylum in the UK, from a country from which we had just evacuated all our diplomatic staff and where we were currently engaged in a rescue mission for British citizens. The Home Secretary responded by claiming that asylum seekers ‘have various legal ways’ to reach the UK, saying that those fleeing Sudan ‘had no good reason’ to cross the channel in small boats and that if they did they would have come here illegally, they could be detained, would face deportation and could be sent to Rwanda in strict adherence to the government’s new illegal migration bill. She said:

“If you are fleeing Sudan for humanitarian reasons, there are various mechanisms you can use, the UNHCR is present in the region and they are the right mechanism by which people should apply if  they do want to seek asylum in the UK”

Her statement was very quickly rejected by the UNHCR, who were emphatic that there was in fact “no mechanism” for refugees to seek asylum in the UK through their organisation. They went on to repudiate the Home Secretary’s suggestion that there were in fact ‘any’ safe routes at all:  

‘There is no asylum visa or ‘queue’ for the United Kingdom..[the] overwhelming majority of refugees have no access to safe and legal routes to the UK.’

Senior Tory calls for the Home Secretary to be replaced

Fellow Conservative Party member and former Party Chair, Conservative peer, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, called for Braverman to be replaced by a Home Secretary who would establish ‘evidence-based policies’. Talking to Channel 4 news correspondent after the debate 26th April, the Conservative peer, insisted:

‘the Home Secretary has a tendency to make sweeping statements based upon nothing…I think she has to go back to having a sense of proportionality, a commitment to facts, making policy based upon evidence.’

A refugee crisis charity Care4Calais volunteer gives out hot drinks to refugees in Dunkerque,

Human rights groups pour scorn on the Home Secretary’s Remarks

Human rights and anti-racist groups queued up to pour scorn on the remarks made by both Jenrick and Braverman.

Sabby Dhalu, who is co-convenor of ‘Stand up to Racism’ accused the Home Secretary of :

yet another attempt to stir up racism…portraying them as criminals is abhorrent and racist…Research shows that the vast majority of those crossing the channel are desperate people fleeing wars and persecution and have every right to seek asylum here.’

The founder of Care4Calais, Clare Moseley, said Braverman’s language was

‘inflammatory, polarising and dehumanising’

The director of Migrant Voice, Nazek Ramadan, said:

‘This divisive and discriminate rhetoric will embolden more far-right attacks against those seeking our protection’

A spokesperson from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Migrants said the Home Secretary’s comments were:

‘straight from the far-rights playbook.’


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