Suella Braverman Isn’t The Only Tory MP Causing Outrage With Migration Comments
Home secretary Suella Braverman has been heavily criticised after telling the Commons on Monday she wanted to stop “the invasion” on the south coast.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, later pointed out that Braverman was using “highly inflammatory language” just after a petrol bomb attack on a Dover processing centre.
However, Braverman is not the only Tory MP to use “inflammatory” language when it comes to the asylum seekers arriving to UK shores this week.
Backbencher Jonathan Gullis, who served as the schools minister under Liz Truss, told Channel 4 News on Monday night that there were “too many illegal migrants” crossing the English Channel “for no reason whatsoever, when they are already in a safe European country”.
“People are trying to game our immigration system,” he added.
He claimed there were more than 800 migrants living in his constituency of Stoke-on-Trent, with another 82 due to arrive – before naming the hotel where they will be staying.
Asked if he would use the term “invasion” like Braverman, he replied: “I would say there is a totally unacceptable number of people coming to this country illegally when they do not need to because they’re already in mainland Europe.”
Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield, also took aim at asylum seekers on Monday.
He told the Commons: “We’ve got Albanian criminals leaving Albania, which is a safe country.
“The same criminals then set up shop in France. They’re then leaving France which is a safe country and coming to the UK, across the channel. And then, when they get into accommodation, we’ve got the opposition saying the accommodation is not good enough for them.
“Does the home secretary agree with me, that if the accommodation is not good enough for them, they can get on a dinghy and go back to France.”
Braverman replied: “My friend is right. The average cost per night is £150 per person in a hotel. By my standards, that’s quite a nice hotel.
“Therefore, any complaints that the accommodation isn’t good enough is absolutely indulgent and ungrateful.”
When this exchange made it onto Twitter, Good Morning Britain presenter Adil Ray tweeted in response: “I keep reading this and can’t quite believe this was said today. These words will be echoed and acted upon by extremists. Like it was yesterday.”
The Tory MP for Workington, Mark Jenkinson, had a similar attitude on Tuesday morning, when he shared the supposed dictionary definition of the word “invasion”, presumably in defence of Braverman.
His tweet read: “Invasion: An occasion when a large number of people or things come to a place in an annoying and unwanted way.”
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, that is the second definition for the word invasion.
The first reads: “An occasion when an army or country uses force to enter and take control of another country.”
Charities such as Refugee Council have condemned the use of the word “invasion” when it comes to asylum seekers. It tweeted: “To describe the serious and complex situation created by the asylum crisis as an ‘invasion’ is appalling, wrong and dangerous.
“These are men, women and children fleeing war, persecution and conflict.”
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick also distanced himself from Braverman’s “invasion” comments on Tuesday morning, telling Sky News: “In a job like mine, you have to choose your words very carefully.
“And I would never demonise people coming to this country in pursuit of a better life. I understand and appreciate our obligation to refugees.”