Suella Braverman, the British home secretary, gave a speech on immigration to a Washington think tank yesterday that the Times describes this morning as ”one of the most hardline speeches on the subject by a British home secretary”.
Braverman called for a narrower definition of “fleeing persecution”, saying the UN refugee convention should not grant protection to LGBT+ people who fear discrimination in their home country, and that refugees should be obliged to make asylum claims in the first country they reach to stop people “shopping around for their preferred destination”.
Some fact-checking: Braverman’s second ask already exists in the form of the Dublin regulation for EU countries, while government statistics show that only 2 per cent of asylum claims lodged in the UK in 2022 cited discrimination on grounds of lesbian, gay or bisexual orientation as a factor.
The speech, which was approved by Downing Street, looks like a UK government attempt to distract from its failure to “stop the boats” – and a push by Braverman to position herself as the right-wing leadership candidate if Sunak loses the election.
Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni sent a letter to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reproaching his government for its initiative to finance migrant NGOs operating in the Mediterranean.
Italy last week signed off on new measures to expand migrant detention centres in an effort to deter sea crossings.