Suella Braverman put on the spot over ‘absurdity’ of asylum system

Suella Braverman: We have failed control of our borders

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Tory MP Lee Anderson pushed the Home Secretary into discussing the apparent loopholes in the UK’s immigration system. Presenting Ms Braverman with a hypothetical scenario, he left the Home Secretary struggling to outline the Home Office’s own rules to process asylum requests. Mr Anderson suggested no asylum seekers from other countries than Ukraine, Syria or Afghanistan could introduce a claim legally, leaving Ms Braverman scrambling to explain the current policy.

Speaking at the Home Affairs Committee, Mr Anderson questioned the Home Secretary on how a persecuted 16-year-old African youngster, whose country is in the grip of political turmoil, could apply legally for asylum in the UK and join his sibling who arrived earlier in Britain through a legal route.

Mr Anderson then put the Home Secretary to the test, revealing what appears to be a considerable loophole in the asylum system. 

He asked: “How would I do that?”

Suella Braverman Braverman said: “You can do it through the safe and legal routes that we have. We have offered 390,000 places to people seeking safety from various countries around the world.”

Mr Anderson then said: “I’m not Syrian, I’m not Afghan, I’m not Ukrainian, I’m not any of those specific schemes. The Dubs scheme is historic. What schemes are open to me?”

Ms Braverman said: “If you are able to get to the UK, you’re able to put in an application for asylum.”

But then Mr Anderson noted he would enter the country illegally, which would defeat the purpose of Ms Braverman’s asylum policy. 

She said: “Well, if you put in your application for asylum upon arrival, that would be the process that you enter.”

Mr Anderson asked: “How could I arrive in the UK if I didn’t have permission to get onto an aircraft legally to arrive in the UK?”

Ms Braverman dodged the question as she appeared unable to offer any answer to the case study presented by the member of the Home Affairs Committee. 

Freelance journalist Andrew Connelly, who tweeted the video, said: “Incredible moment where Suella Braverman inadvertently admits the absurdity of the UK asylum system.”

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The apparent hole in the immigration system comes as Suella Braverman is facing five legal challenges over a crisis at the Manston processing centre.

She insisted people seeking asylum in small boats and their smugglers were to blame for the chaos and what she earlier termed Channel crossings as an “invasion”. 

By the end of October, more than 4,000 people seeking asylum were housed in the Kent refugee centre, which was designed to hold only 1,600 and to process them within 24 hours. 

Some had been waiting there for more than four weeks, with infectious diseases breaking out and one person dying while being detained, in a potential breach of Home Office rules and the law.

Reacting to the video, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper tweeted: “Since Govt failed to get replacement for Dublin Agreemnt theres no safe legal route for lone child refugee to rejoin relative in UK. She’s effectively saying they need to make dangerous journey. Shameful.”

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