Suella Braverman's claim that "multiculturalism has failed" may have been made "to get attention", according to her predecessor.
The current home secretary has faced a raft of criticism since making the comment earlier this week as part of a wider speech demanding an overhaul of the international asylum system.
But Priti Patel said the UK should be "proud" of the "dynamic communities" in the UK, and making such interventions were "not a substitute for delivery" on government policies.
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Speaking to Sky News' Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, the former cabinet minister said: "[Ms Braverman's speech] was very much about making interventions... [but] that is not a substitute for delivery around changes to policy in government.
"Now, I don't know what the intention was around that, whether it be to get attention [or] have the dividing line... as we go into a run up to a the general election.
"I can understand that, I can absolutely understand that, but you and I are sitting here today, we are the actual products of integration, multiculturalism, dynamic communities, people that love our country, want to contribute to our country, along with a hell of a lot of other people that have done exactly the same, and I think that is something we should be proud of in our country."
Asked if the speech was an attempt to distract the public from failures to tackle immigration issues in government, Ms Patel said ministers had been "clear" on their plans.
But, she added: "This side of the general election, if I may politely suggest, it is about delivery and the government will be judged on delivery.
"If you make the pledges, statements and promises, you have to deliver. Pledges are no substitute for action and I think the public are sick of hearing about some of these issues and the failure to deliver, and I think it is right everyone puts a shoulder to the wheel, cracks on and delivers."
Ms Braverman has continued to defend her speech amid the fallout, with the likes of Elton John criticising her over her claims "simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin" was not "sufficient to qualify for protection".
In an interview with the Mail On Sunday, she accused her critics of being "out-of-touch pampered elites" who were "virtue-signalling".
But Labour's shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, told reporters the home secretary was "more interested in going after Elton John than going after criminals".