Grant Shapps refuses to confirm whether Suella Braverman followed the law on migrants

A Cabinet minister has stopped short of saying Home Secretary Suella Braverman followed the law in the treatment of asylum seekers at the Manston processing centre in Kent.

Ms Braverman has been forced to deny that she ignored legal advice over the detention of migrants at Manston during her first stint as Home Secretary under former Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps, who briefly served as Home Secretary before new PM Rishi Sunak reinstated Ms Braverman to the role, said on Monday that he ordered migrants to be moved from the centre to hotels after receiving advice that the Government was at risk of unlawfully detaining people.

But asked on Sky News whether Ms Braverman had ignored similar advice during her first stint at the Home Office, Mr Shapps said: “It’s hard for me to comment but I do know the advice was very clear to me. I acted on that advice.

“I didn’t see the advice she was getting, what I saw was the numbers had increased. When I got there the advice was very clear. It was that we needed to act on a number of different things.

“Not just moving people out..there’s a way of reconfiguring the processing centre in order to make sure we were maintaining the correct legal structure for a processing centre, not a detention centre.”

The Prime Minister has faced criticism over his decision to reappoint Ms Braverman as Home Secretary just six days after she was sacked over breaching security guidelines by sending an official document to another Tory MP from her personal email account.

But as conditions at the Manston centre have deteriorated, Ms Braverman has also been attacked for allowing the centre to become overwhelmed and for failing to move asylum seekers on to emergency accomodation.

The Home Office has denied Ms Braverman blocked the use of hotels and described claims she deliberately ignored advice as “categorically untrue”, adding that legal and operational advice was taken into account “at all times”.

Mr Shapps, who was moved to the Business Department after just six days as Home Secretary, pointed out that Ms Braverman had “continued on the same path” since returning to the Home Office.

“We are at one,” he added.

Meanwhile Mr Sunak is expected to raise the migrant crisis with French President Emmanuel Macron when the two meet for the first time at the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt on Monday.

Mr Sunak told The Sun: "We have to get a grip, do a range of things to stop it from happening, return people who shouldn’t be here in the first place."