Tory MP Says He 'Does Not Trust' Suella Braverman Over Manston Migrant Crisis

Roger Gale says he received 'high level information' suggesting the home secretary stopped booking hotel space to accommodate asylum seekers.
Suella Braverman said the UK's entire immigration system was "broken".
Suella Braverman said the UK's entire immigration system was "broken".
JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images

A Tory MP has said he “does not trust” Suella Braverman after he accused her of “deliberately” letting conditions at the Manston migrant processing centre become overcrowded.

Sir Roger Gale spoke out as the home secretary comes under increasing pressure over the deteriorating situation at the Kent facility, where up to 4,000 people are staying in overcrowded conditions.

There have also been reports of outbreaks of MRSA, scabies and diphtheria among those being held there.

Sir Roger, whose Thanet North constituency houses the Manston centre, yesterday attributed the dire situation to the home secretary’s failure to book the hotel space needed to accommodate the increasing number of migrants.

Braverman last night denied that she had blocked attempts to move asylum seekers into hotels.

But speaking to Times Radio this morning, the MP said he had been passed “very high level information” from inside the Home Office that the problem has been caused by decisions taken by Braverman rather than her predecessor, Priti Patel.

“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.”

Braverman appeared in the Commons yesterday to defend her handling of the situation, but drew more fire for characterising small boats crossing the English Channel as an “invasion”.

She denied that she had failed to sign off on additional hotel space, telling MPs: “I will repeat myself again. Since September 6 over 30 new hotels have been agreed, providing over 4,500 additional hotel bed spaces. That’s been under my watch. That’s been when I’ve been in charge of the Home Office.”

She continued: “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.

“Some 40,000 people have arrived on the south coast this year alone. Many of them facilitated by criminal gangs, some of them actual members of criminal gangs.

“So let’s stop pretending that they are all refugees in distress. The whole country knows that is not true. It’s only the honourable members opposite 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 interested in playing political parlour games, covering up the truth than solving the problem.”

Gale condemned Braverman’s words and said she was “only really interested in playing to the right wing”.

And he said he had received “a certain amount of abuse” for saying that people who crossed the Channel deserved “humane treatment”.

“Over the last few days, we have seen an almost doubling of the size of the number of people in Manston and a massive building of further accommodation,” he said.

“And that is not acceptable. It’s in breach of the undertakings that I was given and I’m not prepared to accept it. I don’t accept or trust this home secretary’s word.”

The MP said the “one thing” he did agree with the home secretary about was that “the system is broken”.

“I share Ms Braverman’s desire to see this ended,” he said. “It is criminal. It is trading in human misery. And it’s quite wrong.

“When you’ve seen as I have, two, three-year-old toddlers at Manston in the processing centre, kids who are the same age, slightly younger than my own grandchildren who crossed the channel on open boats who realise just how pernicious and how dangerous this is, it has to be brought to a halt.”

Braverman’s language was strongly condemned by a number of MPs and opposition charities.

The Refugee Council described her comments as “appalling, wrong and dangerous”, while Labour MP Zarah Sultana accused her of using language that “whips-up hate and spreads division”.

Braverman did, however, win the support of former Ukip and Brexit Party leader Farage, who said on Twitter: “Suella Braverman, who is under attack from Remainers and the globalists, has said what is happening in the Channel is an invasion. It’s a word I’ve been using for two years and been condemned for.”

He added: “Believe me, the Establishment are out to get her because she’s got the guts to say many of these people are just not refugees. Well done her.”


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