'I will not be hectored by out of touch lefties': Braverman hits out amid Migration Bill backlash

Suella Braverman has warned MPs she "will not be hectored by out of touch lefties" with "accusations of bigotry" over her small boats policy.

The home secretary, speaking at the second reading of the Illegal Migration Bill, hit out at those who have criticised the government's new policy.

After being announced last week, it has come under intense criticism in a row that saw ex-footballer and BBC pundit Gary Lineker taken off air.

Ms Braverman, whose parents emigrated to the UK from Kenya and Mauritius in the 1960s, told the Commons on Monday: "I want to put something on the record, it's perfectly respectable for a child of immigrants like me to say I'm deeply grateful to live here, to say that immigration has been overwhelmingly good for Great Britain but that we've had too much of it in recent years.

"And to say that uncontrolled and illegal migration is simply bad.

"Yet, despite our reasonable concerns we've raised on several occasions, I am subject to the most grotesque slurs for saying simple truths about the impact of unlimited and illegal immigration.

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"The worst among them poisoned by the extreme ideology of identity politics suggests that a person's skin colour should dictate their political views."

The home secretary added: "I will not be hectored by out of touch lefties or anyone for that matter.

"I won't be patronised on what appropriate views for someone of my background can hold. I will not back down when faced with spurious accusations of bigotry.

"When such smears seep into the discourse of this chamber, as they did last week, accusations that this government's policies, policies backed by the majority of the British people, are bigoted, are xenophobic, are dog whistles to racists, it is irresponsible and frankly beneath the dignity of this place.

"Politicians of all stripes should know better and they should choose their words carefully."

Ms Braverman added there is a "moral duty to stop the boats" given the risk of life and insisted the policy "does, in fact, guarantee humanitarian protection for those who genuinely need it".

"Our policy is profoundly and at heart a humane attempt to break the incentive that sustains the business model of the smuggling gangs," she said.

The controversial bill has been denounced by the UN's refugee agency as an effective "asylum ban" and it was a stormy opening to the second reading.

Chris Skidmore became the second Conservative MP after Caroline Nokes to criticise the bill, saying he could not vote for it as he is "not prepared to break international law".

Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper received many cheers from her side as she said her party will not back the bill.

She said the bill is effectively a "traffickers charter" that will "lock up children" and remove support from women who have been trafficked.

"It makes it easier for those gangs as well," Ms Cooper added.

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"It won't return everyone, in fact it makes it harder to get return agreements. It won't clear the asylum backlog, in fact it will mean tens of thousands more people in asylum accommodation and hotels.

"It won't deliver controlled and managed safe alternatives. Instead, it will cut them back and it will rip up our long-standing commitment to international law. It will lock up children."

As MPs debated the bill, hundreds of protesters gathered in Parliament Square to demonstrate against it.

Zrinka Bralo, CEO of Migrants Organise, said: "We are here to stand up for dignity and justice and speak out against this new bill, which is further dehumanising and demonising refugees and is damaging our democracy."