Suella Braverman: Sussex MP says there is 'nowhere to hide' for home secretary after his question 'exposed reality' of refugee system in UK

A Sussex MP said his question to Suella Braverman over the refugee system in UK has ‘exposed the reality of the situation’ after the home secretary was unable to provide an answer.
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Conservative backbencher – and East Worthing & Shoreham MP – Tim Loughton asked Mrs Braverman how an orphaned teenager, with links to the UK, could apply for asylum when fleeing conflict in East Africa.

The question – a video of which has gone viral on social media – was asked during the Home Affairs Committee yesterday (Wednesday) morning.

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Mrs Braverman could not provide an explanation as to how a child in this situation could find their way to this country via a safe and legal route.

In an exclusive interview with SussexWorld, Mr Loughton said: “I wanted the home secretary to lay out what are those safe and legal routes, knowing that they are actually few and far between. As it stands at the moment, a lot of the former schemes – which were stopped by the pandemic or connected with Brexit – haven’t been restarted. That’s what yesterday laid bare.”

During the exchange, the home secretary told Mr Loughton that the government ‘has an asylum system and people can put in applications’.

When asked how a young teenager would do this, she responded: "If you're able to get to the UK you're able to put in an application."

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Mr Loughton pointed out that the child would have entered the UK illegally. Ms Braverman responded: "If you put in an application for asylum on arrival that would be the process that you enter."

Conservative backbencher – and East Worthing & Shoreham MP – Tim Loughton has received praise for his line of questioning after asking the home secretary how an orphaned teenager, with links to the UK, could apply for asylum when fleeing conflict in East Africa.Conservative backbencher – and East Worthing & Shoreham MP – Tim Loughton has received praise for his line of questioning after asking the home secretary how an orphaned teenager, with links to the UK, could apply for asylum when fleeing conflict in East Africa.
Conservative backbencher – and East Worthing & Shoreham MP – Tim Loughton has received praise for his line of questioning after asking the home secretary how an orphaned teenager, with links to the UK, could apply for asylum when fleeing conflict in East Africa.

The Home Secretary was unable to elaborate when pressured, instead asking officials to stand in.

The Sussex MP said the response he received was ‘not encouraging’, adding that the home secretary was ‘digging herself a bit of a hole’ when she seemed to claim that a refugee would need to arrive in the UK before applying for asylum.

He added: “It laid bare exactly what the faults in the system are. She will be under pressure to restart some of those safe and legal routes, which many of us have been calling for, for quite a long time.

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“I’m not, by any means, saying that anybody who is escaping danger should come to the UK. But for those so there is a link and a claim in the UK, we should have a way of facilitating that.

Home secretary Suella Braverman could not provide an explanation as to how a child in this situation could find their way to this country via a safe and legal route. (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)Home secretary Suella Braverman could not provide an explanation as to how a child in this situation could find their way to this country via a safe and legal route. (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Home secretary Suella Braverman could not provide an explanation as to how a child in this situation could find their way to this country via a safe and legal route. (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

"If you are a lone individual from a turmoil company, there are few routes. You may have to go through a refugee organisation or something like that but there’s not an obvious way. That’s the problem and those are the sort of people I’m most concerned about.”

Matthew Rycroft, secretary to the Home Office, said those fleeing could apply to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) but admitted there are ‘some countries where that's not possible’.

A video of the exchange has sparked uproar from people on social media, who were congratulatory of Mr Loughton for his line of questioning but shocked that the home secretary could not provide a satisfactory answer.

"I’ve had an awful lot of nice emails, and only two attacking me – interestingly,” Mr Loughton revealed. “It seems to have gone down well.

"More importantly, I hope the Home Office will realise more urgently that, whilst we need to be tough on illegal migration, it needs to be balanced by making it very clear – that if you have a claim to come into the UK – then there is a safe and legal way of doing it.

"Hopefully she will come up with something.

"People are grateful that we have exposed the reality of the situation. There’s nowhere to hide from it now."

The MP said he will having a meeting with the home secretary and immigration minister to go through proposals for the future ‘in more detail’.

Mr Loughton said there are ‘two main things we should be doing’ – introducing a new Dubs scheme and a ‘good functioning family reunion scheme’.

He added: “I think we need to be much tougher on dealing with the little boats coming across the channel. Whatever you think about the immigration system and asylum claims, it is the worst and most dangerous way of coming into the UK.

"We need to make sure there are safe and legal routes for legitimate asylum seekers who are genuinely escaping danger – so we can focus on them and deal swiftly with others who are economic migrants.”