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Tories warned of ‘fireworks’ if Suella Braverman axed today as she faces a backlash over an ‘inflammatory’ warning that Channel migrants are ‘invading’ Britain.

The Home Secretary has come under fire from opposition parties and some of her own side over the stark language in the Commons yesterday.

Defending her handling of the crisis amid reports of overcrowding and outbreaks of disease at the Manston processing facility, Ms Braverman said the UK asylum system is ‘broken’ and illegal migration is ‘out of control’.

She suggested only the Tories were ‘serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast’. Right-wing MPs have lined up behind her, saying she was only ‘speaking the truth’ after nearly 40,000 cross the Channel this year.

There have been complaints about an ‘obsessional’ effort to get her ousted – for what would be the second time in a fortnight – over ‘micro-details’.   

However, immigration minister Robert Jenrick appeared to distance himself from Ms Braverman’s remarks in a round of interviews this morning.  

‘In a job like mine, you have to choose your words very carefully. And I would never demonise people coming to this country in pursuit of a better life. I understand and appreciate our obligation to refugees,’ he told Sky News.

‘The scale of the challenge we’re facing is very, very significant.

‘Fifty thousand people, and the number could well be significantly higher over the course of this year, is a major challenge for this country.

‘It is leading to the infrastructure that we have in terms of reception centres, like Manston, in terms of hotel accommodation, and asylum and social housing, essentially being overwhelmed.

‘Invasion is a way of describing the sheer scale of the challenge.

‘That’s what Suella Braverman was trying to express. She was also speaking, I think, and this is an important point, for those people who live on the south coast, who day in, day out are seeing migrant boats landing on their beaches.’

Mr Jenrick added on the BBC: ‘It is not a phrase that I have used, but I do understand the need to be straightforward with the general public about the challenge that we as ministers face.’

In other twists and turns today:

  • There are claims that Ms Braverman refused to approve migrants being moved into hotels in Tory areas;  
  • Rishi Sunak has gathered Cabinet after signalling that everyone will have to pay more tax and spending will be cut to fill the £50billion hole in the government finances;
  • The Bank of England has started selling government debt accumulated during its quantitative easing programme; 
  • A poll has shown Mr Sunak is preferred to Keir Starmer as PM, with Labour’s advantage dropping from near record highs.  
Home Secretary Suella Braverman arrives at Cabinet today after coming under fire from Tories and opposition parties over stark language in the Commons yesterday

Home Secretary Suella Braverman arrives at Cabinet today after coming under fire from Tories and opposition parties over stark language in the Commons yesterday

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick appeared to distance himself from the remarks in a round of interviews this morning

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick appeared to distance himself from the remarks in a round of interviews this morning

A shower facility at the Manston processing facility in Kent - where migrants are only expected to stay 24 hours

A shower facility at the Manston processing facility in Kent – where migrants are only expected to stay 24 hours

Two Red Wall MPs, Marco Longhi and Mark Jenkinson, were among those standing up for Ms Braverman today

Two Red Wall MPs, Marco Longhi and Mark Jenkinson, were among those standing up for Ms Braverman today 

Mrs Braverman has been fighting for survival on two fronts.

As well as the anger about overcrowding at Manston, she is also contending with a continuing controversy over security breaches following her use of a personal email address to send official documents.

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The Home Secretary initially resigned over that row but was reappointed just six days later by new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Criticism of his rehiring of Mrs Braverman – as well as a focus on her record at the Home Office – has threatened to overshadow his first few days in No10.

But last night Mrs Braverman suggested she was the victim of a ‘political witch-hunt’ as she attempts to survive the double scandal.

And some Tory MPs have been defiantly posting dictionary definitions of an ‘invasion’.

Dudley MP Marco Longhi tweeted: ‘To Labour speaking the truth is ‘far-right’. 10,000 Albanians in a couple of months.’

Replying to another user who suggested Ms Braverman would not be Home Secretary much longer, he added: ‘Watch the fireworks if that happens.’ 

Former Cabinet minister Lord Frost said last night: ‘The continued pursuit of the Home Sec over micro-details by Labour & some of the media looks unreasonable, even obsessional, if also maybe understandable as a way of distracting from Labour’s preference for policies that would make the migration problem worse not better.’ 

More than 4,000 people are claimed to be on the Manston site, which is designed to accommodate only 1,600, with concerns the ‘inhumane’ conditions are leading to a risk of fire, disorder and infection.

Around 40,000 people have crossed the English Channel in small boats so far this year and Mr Jenrick acknowledged the number could reach 50,000.

Home Office officials previously warned the total for 2022 could exceed 60,000.

The Government has been spending £6.8million a day putting up migrants in hotels – at an average cost of £150 per person per night. 

Asked about an LBC report that the Home Secretary refused to sign off on hotels because they were in Tory-supporting areas, Mr Jenrick told the radio station: ‘We are working to try to disperse individuals across the whole of the United Kingdom so that this burden is borne fairly.

‘There’s no politics in that, it’s simple matter of practicality, but that is a symptom of the problem, which is that too many people are crossing the Channel illegally in the small boats and our job is to try to tackle that. There are no easy answers to that.’

There are thought to be around 4,000 migrants at the Manston processing facility, which is designed to hold a maximum of 1,600, with some said to have been there for up to a month, even though they are supposed to be moved on after 24 hours.

Some families are reported to have been sleeping on the floor and there are reports of outbreaks of disease.

Mr Jenrick said cases of diphtheria, MRSA and scabies had been ‘exaggerated’.

‘Well, those reports are not correct. They’ve been exaggerated. I spoke to the doctors who are on site and there is a very good medical centre there with – when I was there – three doctors plus paramedics supporting people with medical conditions,’ he told BBC Breakfast.

‘There have been four cases of diphtheria in a population of around 4,000. But those are all individuals who came into the site with that condition.

‘They didn’t pick it up there, as far as we’re aware. They’ve been isolated and they’re being treated appropriately.

‘But that’s not to say that I’m content with the condition of the site. I’m not.’

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Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor said the Home Office needs to ‘get a grip’ of the situation.

He told Sky News: ‘What’s happening at Manston, when I visited, was people were sleeping on the floors, on the rubber mats down on the floors, and then very thin blankets or mattresses. Lots and lots of people in a room, all squished in together, very uncomfortable.

‘The room for families has lots and lots of different families all sharing the same room, very young children, older children.

‘For a few hours, that would be acceptable, but where people are spending long periods of time there, it just isn’t.’

He added: ‘It’s extremely concerning that children are being asked to sleep on the floor in accommodation that’s wholly unsuitable.’

A poll has shown Mr Sunak is preferred to Keir Starmer as PM, with Labour's advantage dropping from near record highs

A poll has shown Mr Sunak is preferred to Keir Starmer as PM, with Labour’s advantage dropping from near record highs

Aerial photos show large tents that have been set up at Manston, a migrant processing centre in Kent that is said to be heavily overcrowded

Aerial photos show large tents that have been set up at Manston, a migrant processing centre in Kent that is said to be heavily overcrowded

Migrants and staff could be seen milling around in the field outside the large tents

Migrants and staff could be seen milling around in the field outside the large tents 

More than 4,000 people are claimed to be on the Manston site, which is designed to accommodate only 1,600, with concerns the 'inhumane' conditions are leading to a risk of fire, disorder and infection

 More than 4,000 people are claimed to be on the Manston site, which is designed to accommodate only 1,600, with concerns the ‘inhumane’ conditions are leading to a risk of fire, disorder and infection

A man walks near a shower area inside the processing centre in Manston, Kent

A man walks near a shower area inside the processing centre in Manston, Kent 

Ms Braverman cautioned MPs against using ‘inflammatory language’ in relation to the severity of the situation at Manston, although she admitted it was ‘indisputably concerning’.

But the Home Secretary attracted condemnation for her own comments when she referred to the Channel migrant crisis as an ‘invasion’.

Furious MPs accused her of ‘inflaming hate’ and highlighted how her remarks came just a day after petrol bombs were thrown at another Home Office facility in Kent.

The embattled Home Secretary gave her wider assessment of the Channel migrant crisis, which has seen 40,000 people arrive on the South Coast already this year. 

‘We need to be straight with the public. The system is broken. Illegal migration is out of control,’ Ms Braverman told MPs.

She suggested only the Tories were ‘serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast’.

‘Some 40,000 people have arrived on the South Coast this year alone,’ the Home Secretary added.

‘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.’

Ms Braverman’s reference to an ‘invasion’ on England’s southern coast was swiftly condemned by opposition MPs.

‘Disgusted’ Labour MP Zarah Sultana accused the Home Secretary of using language that ‘whips up hate and spreads division’.

Fellow Labour backbencher Kim Johnson posted on Twitter: ‘The Government needs to stop inflaming hate.’

Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, the party’s home affairs spokesperson, said: ‘If the asylum system is broken it is because the Conservatives have broken it.

‘This scandal-ridden Home Secretary has no credibility left. These refugees are not an invasion, they are people who want to build a life for themselves and their families, contribute to our society and our economy, and support themselves instead of relying on handouts.’

Veteran Tory MP Roger Gale, whose constituency includes Manston, told The Times: ‘I fear that there is a very great danger with her inflammatory language. People need to use their language carefully because extremists latch on to those words.’

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A former Home Office minister said she was alienating her supporters on the right of the party.

‘It just shows what a thug she is,’ they told the newspaper. ‘She’s facile, totally uncompassionate and insincere, hamming it up and that’s the reputation she has now. The ERG is abandoning her, it’s only the dinosaurs left defending her now.’

The Home Secretary has come under pressure over the situation at Manston following reports she failed to act on legal advice that migrants were being detained for unlawfully long periods at the site.

She was also alleged to have blocked the transfer of thousands of migrants to hotels this summer, which was claimed to have directly led to overcrowding and outbreaks of scabies and diptheria.

In her statement to the Commons, Mrs Braverman denied blocking migrants from staying in hotels and insisted she had ‘never ignored legal advice’ in relation to accommodation for asylum seekers.

‘To be clear, like the majority of the British people I am very concerned about hotels but I have never blocked their usage,’ the Home Secretary said.

‘Indeed since I took over 12,000 people have arrived, 9,500 people have been transferred out of Manston or Western Jet Foil, many of them into hotels.

‘And I have never ignored legal advice, as a former attorney general I know the importance of taking legal advice into account.’

Mrs Braverman outlined how it costs taxpayers £6.8million a day to fund hotel accommodation for migrants and asylum seekers.

‘Let me set out to the House the situation that I found when I arrived as Home Secretary in September at the Home Office,’ she said.

‘I was appalled to learn there were over 35,000 migrants staying in hotel accommodation around the country at exorbitant cost to the taxpayer.

‘I instigated an urgent review. I pushed officials to identify accommodation options which would be more cost-effective and delivered swiftly while meeting our legal obligations to migrants.’

Migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats arrive at the Dover centre before being taken to the Manston facility for processing

Migrants who have crossed the Channel in small boats arrive at the Dover centre before being taken to the Manston facility for processing

Mrs Braverman faced a grilling from her own Tory benches amid the ‘crisis’ at Manston.

Veteran Conservative backbencher Sir Roger Gale, the MP for North Thanet – the Kent constituency where the Manston site is located, claimed the facility had been operating ‘absolutely magnificently’ and ‘very efficiently’ until five weeks ago.

‘I’m afraid the Home Secretary took the policy decision not to commission further accommodation and it is that, that has led to the crisis at Manston,’ he said.

Sir Roger urged Mrs Braverman to offer assurances that the Manston processing facility won’t become ‘a permanent refugee camp’.

The Home Secretary replied: ‘On no occasion have I blocked the procurement of hotels or alternative accommodation to ease the pressure on Manston, I’m afraid that simply isn’t true.’

Labour’s Rachel Maskell said conditions at Manston were ‘clearly unsafe and inhumane’.

‘We know obviously the suffering that people have experienced there, after 12 years of shameful watch of this Government,’ she added.

In her reply, Mrs Braverman urged MPs not to ‘create alarm unnecessarily’, adding: ‘So when she talks about the language that she uses, I do gently urge her not to use inflammatory language.’

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