Suella Braverman 'booed by migrants' after visiting camps in a military helicopter

3 November 2022, 18:54

Suella Braverman visiting the facilities on Thursday
Suella Braverman visiting the facilities on Thursday. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Suella Braverman was booed by migrants at the overcrowded Manston migration centre, according to reports, after visiting in a military helicopter.

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The government, and Home Secretary Ms Braverman in particular, are facing a legal challenge for keeping the migrants in overcrowded, disease-ridden conditions in the north-east Kent centre.

She visited the site and the Dover migrants centre on Thursday in a Chinook military helicopter - despite the two facilities being just twenty miles from each other.

And as she arrived in Manston, boos could be heard ringing out from the centre, the Mail Online reported.

Immigrant says he would have made a legal claim sooner if the conversation wasn't so 'hostile'

The government has defended the decision to fly in the helicopter, saying it was necessary for Ms Braverman to see operations in the English Channel.

A No 10 spokeswoman said: "The Home Secretary was in Dover to receive an update on operations on the ground.

"That obviously involved operations in the Channel.

"She travelled on a military aircraft to see the area of operations at sea."

Suella Braverman's Chinook helicopter
Suella Braverman's Chinook helicopter. Picture: Getty
Ms Braverman in Dover on Thursday
Ms Braverman in Dover on Thursday. Picture: Getty

It comes as the number of migrants coming to the UK via channel in dangerous small boats has risen sharply in recent years, with 50,000 expected by the end of this year alone.

Ms Braverman confirmed steps are being taken to "immediately" improve the situation on the ground, according to the Home Office.

These include bolstering the medical facilities currently on-site, supplying extra bedding and improved catering facilities, and providing more activities to support migrant welfare.

Suella Braverman outside 10 Downing Street
Suella Braverman outside 10 Downing Street. Picture: Getty

Following her visit, Ms Braverman said: "I have met with our expert teams who work tirelessly to save lives and protect the UK's borders. I wanted to see first hand how we're working to reduce the number of people in Manston, support people there, and thank staff for all their efforts.

"I am incredibly proud of the skill and dedication shown to tackle this challenging situation here on a daily basis. This is a complex and difficult situation, which we need to tackle on all fronts and look at innovative solutions.

"To break the business model of the people smugglers, we need to ensure that the illegal migration route across the Channel is ultimately rendered unviable."

Migrants at the Manston centre
Migrants at the Manston centre. Picture: Getty
Migrants at Manston on Wednesday
Migrants at Manston on Wednesday. Picture: Getty

It comes after immigration minister Robert Jenrick confirmed the Government has received "initial contact for a judicial review" over Manston on Wednesday.

Speaking to Sky News' The Take with Sophy Ridge, he said: "I believe we have received the initial contact for a judicial review."Mr Jenrick insisted that this is "not unusual" as it is a "highly litigious area of policy", but said as the minister responsible he wants to ensure everything is conducted "appropriately and within the law".

"I have tried to work night and day to ensure that the Manston site is not just legally compliant but is a humane and compassionate place where we welcome those migrants, treat them appropriately and then they leave quickly to alternative accommodation," he said.

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Mr Jenrick suggested conditions at the facility may not currently be legal, as he said: "I expect that Manston will be returned to a well-functioning and certainly legally compliant site very rapidly."