'Purely xenophobic': Crown Prince of Albania lashes out at Suella Braverman

Home Secretary Suella Braverman listens to Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper's response to her statement in the House of Commons, London, where she faced questions about the problems with conditions at migrant holding facilities in Manston, Kent. Picture date: Monday October 31, 2022.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman is under fire over her rhetoric on migration. (PA)

Albania's Crown Prince Leka has branded Suella Braverman "purely xenophobic", accusing her of "demonising" his country's people for political gain.

Prince Leka lashed out after the home secretary told the Commons that "robust action" was needed to crack down on the "many people" coming from Albania with "illegitimate aims".

Braverman was responding to fellow Tory MP James Daly, who suggested "there is no reason" for Albanians to cross the English Channel to claim asylum in Britain.

He said that out of the 12,000 Albanians who have arrived in small boats so far this year, 10,000 were adult single males, and suggested that this was aiding recruitment into criminal gangs operating in the UK.

Sharing a video of the home secretary's exchange with Daly in the Commons, Prince Leka tweeted: "Disproportionate slander is purely xenophobic.

The Crown Prince Leka (R) and Crown Princess Elia of Albania attend the wedding ceremony of Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov and Victoria Romanovna Bettarini at Saint Isaac's Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, on October 1, 2021. - Russia was to hold its first royal wedding, on October 1, 2021, since the 1917 Bolshevik revolution toppled the Romanov monarchy, with royals from across Europe expected at the lavish ceremony. Grand Duke George Mikhailovich Romanov, 40, and his Italian fiance Rebecca Virginia Bettarini, 39, will say their vows at the Saint Isaac's cathedral in the former imperial capital Saint Petersburg in the presence of dozens of royals. (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP) (Photo by OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images)
The Crown Prince Leka and Crown Princess Elia of Albania pictured in 2021. (Getty Images)
Albania's Prince Leka criticises Suella Braverman and Tory MP James Daly
Albania's Prince Leka has said it is "dispropotionate slander" to call the arrival of Albanians an "invasion". (Twitter/@princeleka)

"The UK has a population of 67 million, with 6 million emigrants.12 thousand Albanian’s is not an invasion.

"The failings of British law enforcement is not our responsibility. A vast number of Albanians coming to the UK are from the EU and not Albania."

"Stop demonizing us for your own internal political benefits!", the 40-year-old heir to the throne added.

He added that Albanians coming to the country would be an "improvement to British society" in a response to a tweet by GB News pundit Sophie Corcoran.

It comes after Braverman was accused of "whipping up hate" by describing the influx of migrants crossing the Channel as an "invasion", with immigration minister Robert Jenrick distancing himself from her rhetoric.

The home secretary is also under fire over the conditions at Manston asylum centre in Kent, which is designed for 1,600 people but currently houses around 4,000.

Read more: Number of Albanians arriving in UK by small boat increases by at least 1,300% in a year

EDITORS NOTE Children's faces have been pixelated as the PA Picture Desk has been unable to gain the necessary permission to photograph a child under 16 on issues involving their welfare. A child thought to be a migrant on Dungeness beach after being brought in by the Dungeness lifeboat following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Wednesday October 12, 2022.
Nearly 40,000 people have crossed the Channel in small boats so far this year. (PA)

Nearly 40,000 people have made the perilous crossing so far this year, despite the government's currently stalled plan to deport people who've arrived in this way to Rwanda.

Many replying to Prince Leka's post were keen to point out that many Albanians have skills and expertise that could benefit the UK and said it was wrong to mischaracterise them all as criminals.

Naile Zoupani wrote: "We need to change the narrative that “all Albanians” are part of some kind of criminal organisation."

A British-Albanian business owner added: "Why don't they say how much we contribute every year to the UK economy? The UK desperately needs leaders in all skills."

Read more: Tory MP says migrant found in woman’s bedroom inflamed tensions in Dover

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dungeness beach by the Dungeness lifeboat following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Wednesday October 12, 2022.
The governemnt hopes to disuade people from crossing the Channel with a currently stalled plan to deport them to Rwanda. (PA)

Suggesting that the blame lies with policymakers, rather than ordinary Albanians, Ilir Dëma said: "Albanians are trafficked to UK to work as modern slaves in London construction & service sector."

Yesterday, Albania's prime minister Edi Rama hit out at Braverman's hardline rhetoric, accusing her of "finding scapegoats", when "failed policies" are to blame for Britain's migration crisis.

He said the home secretary's "crazy" choice of words "fuels xenophobia and goes against “the great British tradition of integrating the minorities".

According to a recent government report, the number of Albanians crossing the Channel in small boats has increased by at least 1,300% in a year.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, arrives in Downing Street, Westminster, London, ahead of the first Cabinet meeting with Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister. Picture date: Wednesday October 26, 2022.
Braverman is also being criticised over her handling of dangerous overcrowding at Manston asylum centre in Kent. (PA)

Some 11,102 Albanian nationals arrived by small boat from May to September 2022, official government figures showed, and figures will be higher for the entire year.

In the year to June 2022, 7,267 asylum applications were submitted by Albanian migrants, double the number submitted in the previous year.

Read more: Asylum seekers 'should be held on cruise ship in the Channel'

The UK's acceptance rate for Albanian asylum seekers is generally 53%, about 14% of which applied to adult single men. That compares to 76% for asylum seekers from all countries, according to the Refugee Council.

Many Albanian migrants are thought to make asylum claims because they believe they have been trafficked into the UK.

However, in August, ex-director general of Border Force, Tony Smith, claimed there was evidence to suggest people smuggling gangs were advising people to claim they were trafficking victims to improve their chances of staying.