The Home Secretary was in Washington this week. The plan to meet with members of the Biden administration and to deliver a headline grabbing speech at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.
Known simply as the American Enterprise Institute, the AEI is a right wing libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C. Research is focused on government, politics, economics and social welfare.
One can only assume Braverman suggested a trip to Washington to distract press focus away from Number Ten. Anything to draw attention from the HS2 debacle and the Rushi Sunak "Scrap It" campaign.
"I will probably talk about the challenges of multi culturalism and reducing the number of small boats coming across the channel" the Home Secretary would have said. "Sounds great" said the Prime Minister. I am involved in a bit of re positioning and self deprecation myself. Have a great trip. Try to stay out of the headlines!"
According to Matt Chorley, at the Westminster Correspondents Dinner this week, Rishi Sunak located a sense of humour and self mockery.
In his speech, the Prime Minister joked “The ban on Christmas? I’ve scrapped it. The plan for pubs allowed to open for just an hour a day? I’ve scrapped it. The ban on Strictly? I’ve scrapped it. And the ban on puppies, I’ve scrapped that too.”
Sunak was also hoping to scrap the 20 mph limit for vehicles in Wales, along with the requirement for someone to walk in front of the vehicle waving a red flag. Until the Economic Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Griffith described Wales as a "province" in a TV interview on Friday morning.
Andrew Griffith was speaking on Sky News about the introduction of the 20mph speed limit in Wales when he made the comments.
"If that's like something we've seen in Wales, where vast parts of that province have had arbitrary limits imposed on them, I don't think that is the right approach." [Especially when the mandate comes from Number Ten].
And thus with one bound Braverman was free and on the flight. The Home Secretary escaped without adult supervision and a requirement to file a copy of the speech at the Home Office.
Suella Braverman says multiculturalism has failed ...
The headlines didn't bode well. Suella Braverman claimed multiculturalism has failed and migration poses an "existential challenge" to the West in what has been described as an "anti-immigration speech".
The Home Secretary used the speech to claim that the United Nations’ Refugee Convention's threshold has been lowered too far. Offering asylum to a person because they are gay, a woman or fearing discrimination in their home country is not sustainable.
Braverman told the audience in Washington DC that a failure to control migration poses an “existential challenge” to the "political and cultural institutions of the West". “Uncontrolled immigration, inadequate integration and a misguided dogma of multiculturalism have proven a toxic combination ... with too little thought given to the impact on social cohesion."
She said research indicates that the 1951 UN refugee accord, backed by 149 states “now confers the notional right to move to another country upon at least 780 million people”, with the threshold for claiming asylum reduced over time.
Yes over 780 million people could be crossing the channel in small dinghies unless the United Nations gets to grips with the real challenges facing the British Home Office.
Chris Philp, a minister in the Home Office, explained, it''s complicated. Some people "falsely claim to be persecuted when they are not and “some people claim to be gay when they are not”. There is just no easy way of knowing.
So far the Home Office policies haven't been a roaring success. The government's "Small Boats Week" backfired when asylum seekers had to be evacuated from the Bibby Stockholm barge, when Legionella bacteria was found in residence.
The Home Office also faced legal challenges around its plans to send refugees to Rwanda.. The policy has been ruled unlawful by the High Court.
The Home Secretary has warned that unless the European Commission on Human Rights ECHR supports the Rwanda policy, the UK may withdraw from any international commission on human rights, UN or European.
So much for a low level speech in Washington. The reaction was vocal, widespread and with some authority. Priti Patel explained "I don't know what the intention was around the speech. It might just be to get attention." Quite possibly.
Tensions with the Archbishop of Canterbury ...
Mrs Braverman’s approach to immigration has created tensions with the Archbishop of Canterbury The Most Reverend Justin Welby .
In November last year, the Home Secretary claimed there was an “invasion” of England by migrants crossing the Channel. Archbishop Welby condemned suggestions refugees were “invaders to be tackled and deterred” as harmful rhetoric.
This year, he branded plans to deport migrants to Rwanda to be “against the judgment of God”
Justin Welby has “reached out” to the Home Secretary, to discuss the Government’s policy on asylum seekers, but Mrs Braverman has so far failed to agree to any discussions.
UNHCR rebukes Home Secretary ...
The UN’s refugee agency has also rebuked Suella Braverman after she claimed that world leaders had failed to make wholesale reform of human rights laws because of fears of being branded “racist or illiberal”.
The UNHCR issued a highly unusual statement on Tuesday defending the 1951 refugee convention and criticising the UK’s record asylum claim backlog.
Rejecting an overhaul of the convention, the UNHCR called for a “more consistent application of the convention and its underlying principle of responsibility-sharing” and pointedly referred to the UK’s asylum backlog, which is now more than 175,000.
“An appropriate response to the increase in arrivals and to the UK’s current asylum backlog would include strengthening and expediting decision-making procedures,” the statement said.
Gay Tories complain to whips over Suella Braverman speech ...
Ministers are among more than a dozen gay Conservative MPs who have complained to the chief whip about Suella Braverman’s “poisonous” anti-immigration speech, which they say has taken the party backwards.
The group, dubbed the “pink wall” within the party, is outraged at the home secretary’s claim that fearing discrimination for being gay or a woman should not be enough to qualify for refugee protection.
Her comments have sparked a revolt among gay Tory MPs, who have accused her of “bigotry” and, with several heterosexual colleagues, have lodged a complaint with Simon Hart, the chief whip.
So is Braverman on the way out?
On October 9th the Supreme court will rule if the plan to send migrants to Rwanda can go ahead. Allies of the prime minister said the Rwanda case was holding No 10 back from moving her earlier.
Some of those close to Sunak say his patience is coming to an end. “I think he might jump the gun sooner rather than later because she’s becoming a real liability rather than an asset,” one of those close to the prime minister said."
The challenge comes with the threat Braverman could pose from the back benches. The new Conservatives, a group of about 20 right-wing Tory MPs, are among her most prominent supporters. They will use the Tory conference to press the case for leaving the European Convention on Human Rights. Removing her from office could galvanize them further.
Liz Truss will also be leading a charge of some twenty plus right wing Tories under a "Growth Coalition". The ERG as always will be monitoring the Prime Minister’s performance for evidence of remaining weakness. The Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO) will debut.
If only a flight to Rwanda was a solution for dissident ministers and bank benchers. Losing a seat in cabinet or the whip is not threat enough.
The Conservative Party is meeting this week in Manchester, for the annual leadership feed fest.
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