Yesterday in the House of Commons there was a session called Western Jet Foil and Manston Asylum Processing Centres and it was organised and managed by Suella Braverman. After she did her initial statement Yvette Cooper then raised some comments and there was a response from Suella Braverman. Although those elements were perhaps the most significant in terms of Parliament there was also a very disturbing comment from one of our local MPs, the Conservative MP for Crawley, Henry Smith. His comment is later down in this piece. So back to the response by Suella Braverman to Yvette Cooper. Suella Braverman claims that “We need to be straight with the public. The system is broken” and given that her Conservative Party has been in charge of our Nation for the last 12 and a half years, one wonders if she can make such a comment in the context of claiming “Illegal migration is out of control, and too many people are more interested in playing political parlour games and covering up the truth than solving the problem.” The full debate is based here and this is part of the statement from Suella Braverman:
The British people deserve to know which party is serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast, and which party is not. Some 40,000 people have arrived on the south coast this year alone. For many of them, that was facilitated by criminal gangs; some of them are actual members of criminal gangs, so let us stop pretending that they are all refugees in distress. The whole country knows that that is not true. It is only Opposition Members who pretend otherwise.
We need to be straight with the public. The system is broken. Illegal migration is out of control, and too many people are more interested in playing political parlour games and covering up the truth than solving the problem. I am utterly serious about ending the scourge of illegal migration, and I am determined to do whatever it takes to break the criminal gangs and fix our hopelessly lax asylum system. That is why I am in government, and why there are some people who would prefer to be rid of me.
One part of the element from Yvette Cooper statement was as follows and it is deeply disturbing
Behind those problems are deeper failures in the Government’s policies on asylum and channel crossings. Decision making has collapsed: the Home Office has taken just 14,000 initial asylum decisions in the past 12 months, compared with 28,000 six years ago. Some 96% of the small boat arrivals last year have still not had a decision and initial decisions alone are taking more than 400 days on this Conservative Government’s watch. Can the Home Secretary confirm that the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 and changes to immigration rules have added further bureaucracy and delays, leading to tens of thousands more people waiting in asylum accommodation
Later on in the debate after another Sussex MP, Tim Loughton had spoken the comment from Henry Smith emerged and they were the only two Sussex MPs who spoke during that debate. Smith begins with a reasonable response from all of us
Many people in my constituency are worried about paying their heating bills, many people in my constituency are concerned about getting GP appointments,
But he then makes this very dishonest statement
and many of my hotels are full up with illegal migrants. Does the Home Secretary appreciate the sense of unfairness that my constituents feel? When will legislation be introduced to resolve the situation?
It is certainly possible that there may be some illegal migrants in the Crawley hotels, however it is deeply disturbing for an MP to suggest that all of the migrants are illegal as many of the migrants are travelling from nations that are threatening them or their families and they are seeking a location that is less threatening. They are transferred to locations such as Crawley and many other settings and as Yvette Cooper explains, the Government is taking far too long to assess the people in the Hotels.
Good piece Ian, but there are no “illegal” migrants. Claiming asylum is a legal act and until the claim is disproved or proved they are asylum seeking and not illegal. The major part of the problem is the lack of will or resource to process the claims and that is a political choice, not the volume of people. It matters that the politicians recognise those nuances and stop the violent rhetoric which has created the hostile environment.