Suella Braverman 'will not back down' amid migrant Bill backlash as she condemns 'grotesque slurs' levelled at her

13 March 2023, 19:42 | Updated: 13 March 2023, 23:43

Suella Braverman has said she "will not back down"amid criticism of the government's migration Bill and condemned the  "grotesque slurs" that have been directed at her for saying "simple truths about the impact of unlimited and illegal migration”.
Suella Braverman has said she "will not back down"amid criticism of the government's migration Bill and condemned the "grotesque slurs" that have been directed at her for saying "simple truths about the impact of unlimited and illegal migration”. Picture: Parliament Live TV / Getty / Twitter/@TorbsTalks

By Chris Samuel

Suella Braverman has said she "will not back down" as the Home Secretary defended the Government's controversial migrant crackdown in Parliament.

Ms Braverman claimed she had been subjected to "grotesque slurs" for stating "simple truths" about the impact of migration, and vowed she wouldn't be "hectored by out-of-touch lefties”.

Speaking during the second reading of the Illegal Immigration Bill in the House of Commons, the Home Secretary said she wouldn't be patronised and told what views someone of her background should hold.

“The worst among them, poisoned by the extreme ideology of identity politics, suggest that a person’s skin colour should dictate their political views," she said.

“I will not be hectored by out-of-touch lefties, or anyone for that matter. I won’t be patronised on what appropriate views for someone of my background can hold. I will not back down when faced with spurious accusations of bigotry.”

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Defending the migrant crackdown, the Home Secretary accused opposition MPs of not having any proposals to stop small boats crossings.

Ms Braverman said claimed that in practice, the opposition favours open borders, and is trying deceive the British public as they are “dressing what is an extreme political argument in the fake garb of humanitarianism”.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper described the Bill “a con makes the chaos worse”, adding: “It won’t stop the criminal gangs...and in fact makes it easier for them as well.”

Suella Braverman said she "will not back down" amid criticism of the government's migration Bill
Suella Braverman said she "will not back down" amid criticism of the government's migration Bill . Picture: Parliament Live TV

She said the legislation will “rip up” the UK’s long-standing commitment to international law.

“It will deny citizenship for people like Mo Farah,” she added.

It comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces the threat of a Tory rebellion over the Bill.

Mr Sunak's energy tsar Chris Skidmore said he wouldn't support the legislation which even the Government’s own lawyers amid may be in breach of international law.

Ahead of the Bill’s Second Reading, Mr Skidmore tweeted: “I am not prepared to break international law or the human rights conventions that the UK has had a proud history of playing a leading role in establishing.

“I will not be voting for the bill tonight.”

PM Rishi Sunak speaks during a press conference following the launch of new legislation on migrant channel crossings at Downing Street on March 7, 2023 in London, United Kingdom.
PM Rishi Sunak speaks during a press conference following the launch of new legislation on migrant channel crossings at Downing Street on March 7, 2023 in London, United Kingdom. Picture: Getty

Other senior Conservative MPs who have previously voiced concerns over the legislation include ex-Cabinet ministers Sir Robert Buckland, David Davis.

Also among them is Simon Hoare, chairman of the Commons Northern Ireland Committee who is calling on the Prime Minister to include legal and safe asylum routes to Britain in the legislation so that it is “tough and humane”.

Under the new Bill, people who arrive in the UK illegally will be detained and removed within weeks of arrival. If safe, they will go back to their home country, if not, they will go to a safe third country.

Among the other interventions are:

  • Under 18's who arrive unaccompanied and illegally will remain in the UK until adulthood and will then be removed to a safe third country. Limited circumstances could change this.
  • Asylum seekers who enter the UK illegally will not only be removed, but also face a permanent ban from returning.
  • Any asylum claims from those who travel to the UK illegally will be deemed inadmissible and reconsidered in a third country.
  • Any legal claims that can prevent someone being removed from the UK will be limited.
  • Modern slavery claims for those travelling illegally will be disqualified.
  • There will be an annual cap on the number of refugees entering via safe routes.

The UN's refugee agency has described the plans as "very concerning" as Rishi Sunak warned he is "up for the fight" against any legal challenges to his controversial new Bill.

A protest was held in central London against the Bill
A protest was held in central London against the Bill. Picture: Twitter / @natehiggins

The UNHCR representative to the UK said it would break international law and was not necessary.

Vicky Tennant, of the UNHCR, said: "We're very concerned. This is effectively closing off access to asylum in the UK for people arriving irregularly.

"We believe it's a clear breach of the Refugee Convention, and remember even people with very compelling claims will simply not have the opportunity to put these forward."

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Mr Sunak said there was "absolutely nothing improper" about the legislation and that he is confident the Government would win any court action.

Migrants including women and children are removed from a Border Force vessel after being picked up in the Channel on March 06, 2023 in Dover, England.
Migrants including women and children are removed from a Border Force vessel after being picked up in the Channel on March 06, 2023 in Dover, England. Picture: Getty

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Parliament Square as the debate was held to protest against the migrant crackdown.

Zrinka Bralo, chief executive of Migrants Organise, said: We are here to stand up for dignity and justice and speak out against this new bill, which is further dehumanising and demonising refugees and is damaging our democracy.

Protesters could be heard chanting “money for health and education not for war and deportation” as many held placards reading “refugees always welcome”, PA Media reported.

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