Minister Squirms As Question Time Audience Accuse Tories Of 'Inhumane' Immigration Policy

Suella Braverman claimed the government has "a track record which I'm proud of" when it comes to welcoming refugees.
Suella Braverman, the attorney general, tried to defend the government's immigration policy on Question Time
Suella Braverman, the attorney general, tried to defend the government's immigration policy on Question Time
BBC Question Time

The attorney general Suella Braverman claimed she was “proud” of the UK’s approach to refugees after a member of the public said the government was being “inhumane” to Ukrainians.

On Thursday, a member of the BBC Question Time audience criticised the government for operating “as though it were peacetime” when it comes to the refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion.

She said: “There is no empathetic approach at all. It saddens me every day.”

The member of the public also said it is so “inhumane” to ask Ukrainian children on their own to go to France to apply for a UK visa before they could come here.

Braverman replied: “I am very disappointed by the suggestion that there’s been some kind of inhumane approach here by the UK government.”

Labour MP Wes Streeting then cut in: “It’s basically been your immigration policy for 12 years!

“You’ve been deliberately slow, deliberately obstructive, because you hope that other people carry the burden instead. That’s been the government’s approach all the way along. Of course it has!”

Throughout his intervention, Braverman repeatedly told Streeting that he was “absolutely wrong”.

“The facts are we have a track record of which I am incredibly proud,” the minister alleged. “Whether it’s the Afghans, whether it’s Syrians, whether it’s Hong Kong citizens coming here – since 2015, we’ve rehoused and accommodated over 25,000 refugees.”

The minister also pointed out that she was the daughter of a refugee, so “you don’t need to tell me about the generosity of the British people”.

Braverman defended the need for security checks on everyone trying to enter the UK, because there have been “attempts to fake documents at the border and to play the system to get here illegally”.

For Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK, they either have to have family settled in Britain or they can be sponsored by an organisation or individual.

The UK is the only European nation still insisting on the refugees applying for visas before coming here.

Streeting also claimed that the Home Office had got it “badly wrong” and “has never been able to humanely deal with people” when analysing the response to Ukraine.

Streeting alleged that the the government seemed reluctant to help Ukrainian children stranded in Europe unless it had permission, adding: “We’ve still got the perverse situation where we’ve got unaccompanied children in Poland wanting to get to the UK.”

The attorney general was quick to defend the government: “Wes, a bit cheeky I have to say to make the comment about the unaccompanied asylum seeking children – we want to, of course, support families, many of them will be women and children coming through.

“We need the Ukrainian government’s consent before we take an unaccompanied child. That’s important again for the security aspect, so they are not exploited when they get to the UK.”

The UN believes more than three million people have now fled from Ukraine in just over three weeks of war, while western officials believe more are on their way.

Before You Go