Oliver Dowden furiously defended Suella Braverman after the Home Secretary was blasted for making “ludicrous” remarks about the numbers of migrants that could come to the UK. This came after Ms Braverman claimed that “billions” of people are eager to come to the UK. Mr Dowden said the Home Secretary’s point was “perfectly correct”, claiming she was simply making the point that migration numbers are “increasing very, very rapidly”.
Sky News presenter Sophy Ridge raised the Home Secretary’s remarks to Mr Dowden, describing them as “ludicrous”.
Hitting back, Mr Dowden explained: “It is a function of the global economy and differences in levels of development that countries like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, United States and others, have potentially vast numbers of people who wish to come here as economic migrants.”
Ms Ridge interrupted, questioning: “Billions?”
Mr Dowden responded: “If you’ll let me finish this point – secondly, it is the case that if you look at the numbers, we were at a situation where there were dozens of boats three or four years ago.
“We were at 40,000 Last year, projected to rise further.
“We have to be willing to put a stop to this and there are very, very large numbers of people who could potentially wish to enter the United Kingdom and indeed other developed countries for economic migration reasons.”
When the Sky presenter pressed him on this, saying “Come on, you know, that’s ridiculous. You know that’s ludicrous”, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster accused Ms Ridge of “taking two things slightly out of context here”.
He added: “She’s making the point which is perfectly correct, which is that these numbers are increasing very, very rapidly.”
Ms Ridge hit back, saying: “That is not the point she is making!”
Pressing ahead with his defence of Ms Braverman, the minister said: “If we don’t we don’t take action, the numbers could increase and increase and increase again – and the potential pool of people, which I think is what she’s referring to with the billions, is the fact that – if you look at a global population of about 8 billion people – many billions of those people are not in economically developed countries like our own”.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Ms Braverman said: “In the face of today’s global migration crisis, yesterday’s laws are simply not fit for purpose.
“There are 100 million people displaced around the world, and likely billions more eager to come here if possible.
“They are already coming here in their tens of thousands. And they will not stop until we’ve made it crystal clear: Arrive illegally and you will be liable for detention and swiftly removed – to your home country or to a safe third country like Rwanda.
“That is precisely what the Illegal Migration Bill will do. That is how we will stop the boats.”
But the UN’s refugee agency has described the Government’s plans to stop small boat crossings as “very concerning”.
The UNHCR representative to the UK said the plans would break international law.
Vicky Tennant, of the UNHCR, said: “We’re very concerned. This is effectively closing off access to asylum in the UK for people arriving irregularly.
“We believe it’s a clear breach of the Refugee Convention, and remember even people with very compelling claims will simply not have the opportunity to put these forward.”