Home secretary Suella Braverman speaks in the House of Commons where she faced questions about the problems with conditions at migrant holding facilities in Manston, Kent. (Photo: House of Commons via PA Wire/PA Images)
Suella Braverman has characterised the UK’s migration system as “broken” as she claimed “illegal immigration is out of control”.
The home secretary, facing questions in the Commons over the chaos at the Manston migrant holding centre in Kent, was reminded by a Labour MP that the Conservative Party had been in power for 12 years.
Braverman also claimed the southern coast of England is facing an “invasion” of migrants – a day after a holding centre in Dover was petrol bombed.
The home secretary’s fiery rhetoric came during a defiant address where she claimed to speak for the “patriotic majority of British people” who want safe and secure borders.
During questions, Braverman even audaciously accused a Labour MP of using “inflammatory language”.
It comes as the Channel crossing crisis deepened, amid growing concern over the conditions in which migrants are being held while waiting to be processed once they arrive in the UK, and after one of the sites in Dover was firebombed.
In the Commons, Braverman opted to go on the attack and make the issue party political as she accused the Labour Party of playing “political parlour games”.
She told MPs: “Let’s be clear about what is really going on here: the British people deserve to know which party is serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast and which party is not.
“Some 40,000 people have arrived on the south coast this year alone. Many of them facilitated by criminal gangs, some of them actual members of criminal gangs.
“So let’s stop pretending that they are all refugees in distress. The whole country knows that is not true. It’s only the honourable members opposite who pretend otherwise.
“We need to be straight with the public. The system is broken. Illegal migration is out of control and too many people are interested in playing political parlour games, covering up the truth than solving the problem.”
Disgusted to hear Suella Braverman say there's an "invasion on our southern coast", just a day after a migrant detention centre was fire-bombed.
Language like this – portraying migrants as "invaders" – whips-up hate & spreads division.
She's totally unfit to be Home Secretary.
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) October 31, 2022
Utterly despicable for Braverman to use the language of the far right and speak of an ‘invasion’. To choose this kind of inflammatory language a day after the attack on the Dover migrant centre makes it even worse. This is dangerous and unhinged. https://t.co/B2quVQgzpn
— Prof Tanja Bueltmann (@TanjaBueltmann) October 31, 2022
A mere day after a detention centre for refugees was bombed, Suella Braverman refers to refugees crossing the channel as an "invasion". Attacks on refugees don't come out of nowhere; they are the end result of hate and xenophobia whipped up by politicians and media outlets.
— Taj Ali (@Taj_Ali1) October 31, 2022
In another defiant comment, Braverman said “there are some people who would prefer to be rid of me”.
Braverman was heckled by Labour MPs, before adding: “Let them try. I know that I speak for the decent, law-abiding, patriotic majority of British people from every background that wants safe and secure borders.
“Labour is running scared that this party might just deliver them.”
Labour MP Zarah Sultana was among the first to condemn language that’s “whips-up hate and spreads division”. “She’s totally unfit to be home secretary,” she added.
So far this year close to 40,000 people have made the treacherous journey from France, crossing the world’s busiest shipping lanes in dinghies and other small boats, provisional government figures show.
On Sunday, police said two or three incendiary devices were thrown at a migrant processing centre in Dover and caused a fire.
The suspect, a 66-year-old man from High Wycombe, was identified and found dead at a nearby petrol station, Kent Police said.
Two people inside the centre at Western Jet Foil were left with minor injuries.
Although the site remained open, 700 people were moved to Manston for safety reasons.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.