Britain’s Indian-origin Home Secretary Suella Braverman is facing increasing pressure over the government’s new plans to clamp down on illegal migration, with a former Home Office adviser branding the policy as “racist” and a former minister raising serious concerns in Parliament.
Nimco Ali, a one-time campaigner for the governing Conservative Party who left her job as a government adviser in December last year, told the ‘Guardian’ that Goan-origin Braverman was “the wrong person not just for the Conservative party but for the country” as she makes the Tories seem “cruel and heartless”.
The child refugee from Somaliland was scathing in her criticism of the government’s failure to widen migration routes open to Ukrainians over the ongoing Russian conflict.
“As a former refugee of colour, if we can provide generous help to Ukrainians escaping war then I think we need to look at ensuring that we also provide routes to anyone escaping conflicts,” Ali told the newspaper.
“If we can find room for a white child but not a black child, who are coming here in similar circumstances, it is racist. It is really painful if we believe that people can seek refuge if they come from Europe but not elsewhere. If we can provide safe and legal routes for Ukrainians, we should do it for other people as well,” she said.
Ali, who is supportive of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, warned that he would not win the next general election with Braverman as his Home Secretary as he is in danger of losing younger and floating voters.
“Suella Braverman wants the government to look tough but it will instead make us look cruel and heartless, which I don’t think the PM is. I have a problem with her language. I believe that blaming lefty lawyers when they are challenging the law is dangerous. When she spoke about her dream of seeing a plane take off to Rwanda, it lacked compassion and understanding,” said Ali, with reference to the government’s migration pact with the African nation to house illegal migrants.
Her criticism came as former Tory home secretary Theresa May raised several concerns in the House of Commons about the proposed new Illegal Migration Bill, which has been tabled in Parliament to tackle the issue of thousands of migrants arriving on UK shores illegally via small boats.
“As it currently stands, we are shutting the door to victims who are being trafficked into (modern) slavery (in) the UK,” said May.
“Whenever you close a route for migrants… the migrants and the people smugglers find another way. Anybody who thinks that this bill will deal with the issue of illegal migration once and for all is wrong,” she said.
During a debate in the Commons on Monday, Braverman referred to her predecessor in office, Indian-origin former home secretary Priti Patel, to claim all ethnic minority Home Office ministers have been subjected to “grotesque slurs” for simple truths about the impact of unlimited and illegal migration.
“Accusations that this government’s policies, which are backed by the majority of the British people, are bigoted, xenophobic or a dog whistle to racists are irresponsible and frankly beneath the dignity of this place. Politicians of all stripes should know better, and they should choose their words carefully,” said Braverman.
“Those who cast their criticism of the Bill in moral terms ignore certain truths. First, they ignore that we have a moral duty to stop the boats. People are dying in the channel. They are taking journeys that are unsafe, unnecessary and unlawful,” she said.
The debate over the new bill has also spilled over outside the political arena, as England football legend and BBC personality Gary Lineker likened the policies to 1930s Nazi Germany in a tweet. It unleashed days of disruption for the taxpayer-funded broadcaster’s sports coverage and has forced the BBC to review its social media policy in order to resolve the crisis.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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