Thursday 6 October 2022 6:45 AM UTC
LONDON Oct 6: Britain’s Indian-origin home secretary, Suella Braverman, has blamed the recent “riots” in Leicester following an India-Pakistan cricket match on uncontrolled migration into the UK and the failure of newcomers to integrate.
In her first speech since being appointed home minister at the Conservative Party annual conference in Birmingham on Tuesday evening, Braverman referenced her visit to the eastern England city after clashes involving many Hindu and Muslim groups last month.
The Indian High Commission in London had also issued a statement at the time expressing concern for the safety of people of Indian-origin targeted in what the local police termed as “serious disorder”.
“The unexamined drive towards multiculturalism as an end in itself combined with the corrosive aspects of identity politics has led us astray,” Braverman told the audience of Tory MPs and members.
“I saw this when I went to Leicester recently. A melting pot of cultures and a beacon of religious harmony. But even there, riots and civil disorder have taken place because of failures to integrate large numbers of newcomers. Such conflict has no place in the UK,” she said.
As per reports in The Telegraph, Braverman has warned she will resist an “open borders” migration policy with India as part of a trade deal. The Home Secretary said she had “concerns” about including looser migration controls for workers and students as part of any trade deal that is currently being negotiated with India.
The Indian government is pushing for a significant liberalisation of visa routes for workers and students, while Liz Truss is said to be prepared to include migration as part of the deal.
However, in an interview with the Spectator, Mrs Braverman said: “I have concerns about having an open borders migration policy with India because I don’t think that’s what people voted for with Brexit.”
She indicated that she would be targeting foreign students on “substandard” courses in “inadequate” universities, their dependants and “low skilled” workers in areas like agriculture where farmers should be turning to automation and local UK employees.
She told the Spectator that lowering migration numbers was a crucial part of the post-Brexit social contract.
Not racist to control borders
The daughter of a Tamil mother and Goan-origin father, Braverman insisted it was not “racist” to want to control the UK’s borders as she pledged to cut “low-skilled foreign workers”. The Brexit-backing barrister and former attorney general in the UK Cabinet used her family heritage as a reference point to back up her plans to control migration into the country.
“This isn’t just about policy or economics for me. It’s intensely personal. My parents came here in the 1960s from Kenya and Mauritius. They loved Britain from afar, as children of the Commonwealth. It was Britain that offered them security and opportunity as young adults,” she said, amid several interludes of applause.
“It’s not racist for anyone, ethnic minority or otherwise, to want to control our borders. It’s not bigoted to say that we have too many asylum seekers who are abusing the system. It’s not xenophobic to say that mass and rapid migration places pressure on housing, public services and community relations,” she said.
“My parents came here through legal and controlled migration. They spoke the language, threw themselves into the community, they embraced British values. When they arrived, they signed up to be part of our shared project because the United Kingdom meant something distinct. Integration was part of the quid pro quo,” she added.
The minister reiterated that integration did not mean abandoning their Indian heritage but meant adopting British identity.
“This is the best place on earth to come and live in, but I fear that we are losing sight of the core values and the culture that made it so,” she warned.
As part of her pledge on migration, the new home minister vowed to control the small boats bringing illegal migrants across the English Channel, leaving a safe country like France and “abusing” the UK’s asylum system. Praising the efforts of her predecessor, Priti Patel – also of Indian origin, Braverman committed herself to making the scheme of deporting illegal migrants to Rwanda work, which Patel had launched but is yet to fully take off.
Braverman’s pledge to cut crime with “more PCs, less PC”, a reference to increasing the number of police constables (PCs) and reducing the political correctness (PC) preventing them from acting in some cases won her all round applause at the conference.
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