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  • Kara Evans

Migrant 'Invasion' in the UK: The Braverman Backlash


‘Clutching only his most valuable possession, his British passport. His homeland was in political turmoil.’ In lacing her father’s migration memoir with patriotism and British nationalism, Suella Braverman has blanketed her inflammatory political rhetoric with exaggerated tales of her family’s experience as struggling migrants in the 1960s whilst exemplifying her ignorance towards contemporary experiences within the British migration system.

A six-week stretch as Home Secretary lined with an ongoing cohort of scandals trailing the Conservative Party has made Braverman a controversial figure amongst current and previous Conservative cabinets. During the short tenure of Liz Truss, the Home Secretary achieved several breaches of ministerial code, and made the ultimate error of sending government information through ‘unauthorised personnel channels’ (though, in fairness to the Home Secretary, Conservative MPs who have upheld the ministerial code have arguably been few and far between).

Braverman continued her contentious cling to power through Sunak’s adverse reappointment of the Home Secretary, allowing a spurt of hostile anti-migration rhetoric to echo throughout British politics. Although the Conservative Party’s contested stance on migration is widely acknowledged, increasingly provocative language has continued to spark politically right-wing-induced violence and a wider intolerance towards migrants in recent years.

‘The British people deserve to know which party is serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast and which party is not.’ In playing such a game of party politics, Braverman emulates a populist rhetoric in influencing the British electorate to perceive migration pessimistically in terms of the economy, job opportunities and an overall lack of social cohesion in the UK.

Our newly appointed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended the Home Secretary’s ‘error of judgement’ when using her personal email for government information) during Prime Minister’s Questions, saying that the role of the Conservative Party was to in fact ‘defend our borders’ rather than focus on detrimental inaccuracies. Such incendiary language for an already unstable government speaks volumes for the ways in which migrants will experience a hostile Britain under Sunak’s Conservative government.

Current asylum laws in the UK allow the government to happily turn a blind eye to asylum seekers who are not arriving from Afghanistan, Hong Kong or Ukraine (a highly controversial issue for pro-migration activists). Migrants fleeing persecution in other countries must reach UK soil before legally claiming asylum, meaning they may suffer the extreme circumstances of illegal migration tactics to reach the UK. Sunak’s 10-point plan to curb illegal immigration outlines a Small Boats Taskforce with militarised aid to stop illegal Channel crossings, therefore massively diminishing migration from most countries. The Prime Minister’s plan determines that countries who refuse the return of failed asylum seekers and migrants who commit crimes in the UK will be ineligible for a share of the UK’s £11.5 billion aid budget, arguably dehumanising and criminalising entire states for the actions of a few individuals.

Decriminalising migrants and creating a state of empathy within Britain is the first solution to combating the crisis on our channels. Increased funding is crucial to solving the migration emergency. Rishi Sunak’s plan for the forced return of migrants to their home countries comes with the threat of limiting aid to those who have been unable to flee persecution. In doing so, the current Conservative government has adopted an extremist approach of ignoring otherwise unignorable threats to countries who are clearly suffering the consequences of conflict and other causes of extreme migration.

Perhaps if Sunak’s government applied more time and empathy to the development of optimistic migration strategies, rather than formulating a hostile environment, they could limit the expenditure of government funds on radical regimes like the Rwanda policy.

Image: Flickr/UK Government



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