Grant Shapps Admits UK Was 'In Danger' Of Breaking Law Over Migrants

Suella Braverman's predecessor dropped her in hot water over her management of asylum seekers.
Grant Shapps, former home secretary and current business secretary
Grant Shapps, former home secretary and current business secretary
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Grant Shapps has admitted he was warned by legal advisers the government was “in danger” of breaking the law over its processing of migrants during his time in the home office.

Shapps, now the business secretary, put his successor Suella Braverman in hot water over the current crisis facing the Home Office, the large number of asylum seekers who are having to endure bleak living conditions at UK processing centres.

Reports even claim diphtheria, scabies and MRSA have been found at a Kent processing facility.

Shapps replaced Braverman as home secretary for just six days during the musical chairs within the cabinet over the last month, after she was forced to resign over a security breach.

He has indicated that he was willing to book hotels for migrants during that time, while it has been claimed that Braverman, at least initially, was not, particularly in Conservative constituencies.

However, Braverman has since denied “ignoring” legal advice over the migrants.

Meanwhile, a processing centre in Manston, where refugees are supposed to spend no more than 48 hours, has been overcrowded, prompting national concern about the living standards.

On Monday, Shapps told Sky News: “We’ve got to be careful not to break the law ourselves, by detaining people who are able to be outside of that what is not a detention centre, but a processing centre at Manston.

“It’s really just a question of making sure we were acting within the law, and that’s something the home secretary is continuing to do now.”

He said the government needed to do “all we can” to prevent people from making that “perilous, dangerous journey, and being people-trafficked” while not breaking the law.

Host Kay Burley asked: “So, we were breaking the law?”

“Well, the advice I had was very clear,” the cabinet minister replied. “We were in danger of doing that if we weren’t acting, and I did act during six days of the job.

“And I know the home secretary’s continued to act as well.”

He added that he did not know what advice Braverman had received during her previous tenure in the home office, during the first few weeks of Liz Truss’s premiership.

“We must not put ourselves on the wrong side of the law,” he later repeated on Times Radio.

He also claimed the numbers at Manston were hoovering around 3,000 when he was working in the home office – it’s now known to be at 4,000, despite being designed for 1,600.

Shapps repeated: “I saw the advice was very very clear, and I acted upon it immediately.”

Braverman previously described the arrival of asylum seekers at the English coast as an “invasion”.

Priti Patel, the home secretary under Boris Johnson, has also claimed that she was willing to book hotels for asylum seekers for the majority of her tenure.


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