Robert Jenrick rejects Suella Braverman’s ‘invasion’ claim and says ‘I would never demonise people’

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Immigration minister Robert Jenrick has rejected language used by the home secretary describing the influx of asylum seekers to the UK as an “invasion”.

Suella Braverman told MPs yesterday that the public needs to know which party is serious about “stopping the invasion” of migrants on the southern coast of the UK.

Mr Jenrick, when asked if he would characterise the situation in the same way, told Sky News: “In a job like mine, you have to choose your words very carefully. And I would never demonise people coming to this country in pursuit of a better life.”

Politics latest: ‘People sleeping on camping mats’ in migrant centre

However, he said describing people crossing the Channel as an “invasion” was a way to show the scale of the challenge “and that’s what Suella Braverman was trying to express”.He also claimed that Ms Braverman was speaking for people who live on the south coast “who day in, day out are seeing migrant boats landing on their beaches”.

“There was a report just yesterday from a lady who found a young migrant from Albania in her kitchen seeking support, asking for money,” he said.

“I know that that’s not acceptable in this country.”

Mr Jenrick said fifty thousands people have arrived in the UK on small boats this year and that number is likely to increase.

He said this was to blame for overcrowding at the Manston processing centre in Kent, insisting the “root cause” of what is happening is not the fault of the government.

The Home Office has been told to “get a grip” over the issues at the site after a new report revealed detainees were not allowed to close toilet doors fully and had to sleep on the floor.

Some migrants have not been allowed access to mobile phones to inform their families if they were safe, while other “exhausted detainees” have waited more than 30 hours to be processed, the report from HM Inspectorate of Prisons found.

Mr Jenrick accepted “conditions are poor” with people sleeping on mats, adding: “”This is not a satisfactory situation. I’m not here to defend that.

“I would just say that the root cause of what we’re seeing at Manston is not the Government. It’s certainly not the brilliant Border Force Staff who are managing the site, the contractors, the catering staff. The problem is that thousands of people are crossing the Channel illegally every day.”

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