Cabinet Minister Refuses To Repeat Suella Braverman's Claim UK Is Facing Migrant 'Invasion'

Mark Harper said "every politician chooses to express themselves in the way that they do".
Suella Braverman is under pressure
Suella Braverman is under pressure
House of Commons via PA Wire/PA Images

A cabinet minister has refused to repeat Suella Braverman’s claim that the UK is facing an “invasion” from migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats.

Mark Harper would only say “every politician chooses to express themselves in the way that they do”.

Braverman, the home secretary, has faced an angry backlash after she used the incendiary language in the House of Commons.

It followed claims that overcrowding at the Manston migrant processing centre in Kent was caused by her refusal to book extra hotel accommodation to house them.

Braverman told MPs: “Let’s be clear about what is really going on here: the British people deserve to know which party is serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast and which party is not.”

Asked on Sky News this morning is Braverman was right to use those words, Harper said: “I think it’s important that the home secretary demonstrates to the public she understands the scale of the problem so that the public have the confidence that she and the immigration minister are going to put the appropriate focus on dealing with it.”

Harper, who is a former immigration minister, was then asked if he would have used the phrase himself.

He said: “Every politician chooses to express themselves in the way that they do and I think the home secretary was trying to convey to the House of Commons that she understood the scale of the challenge so that people at home concerned about this issue know that it is an important issue for her and for the Home Office.”

Harper’s comments came just a day after Braverman’s own deputy, Robert Jenrick, also distanced himself from her remarks.

He said: “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.”

Braverman has also come under fire from Sir Roger Gale, the Tory MP whose constituency contains the Manston site.

He said he “does not trust” the home secretary after she denied blocking hotel accommodation for those at the processing centre.

The Thanet North MP said: “Very high level information given to me from inside the Home Office says that Priti Patel as home secretary maintained the flow of alternative accommodation — not just hotels — but alternative accommodation for asylum seekers being processed at Manston and then quite properly moved on.

“When Ms Braverman took over, that stopped. When Grant Shapps took over briefly as home secretary he reinstated that programme in order to clear the backlog that was accumulating at Manston.

“When Ms Braverman was then reappointed, the system started to clog up again — you can draw your own conclusion.”


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