A senior member of the Conservative Party was ejected for loudly criticising the conference speech of Suella Braverman, Britain’s home secretary, as she warned a hall full of Tory delegates that a “hurricane” of immigrants is coming.
Ms Braverman took a characteristically hard line on migration issues in her address on Tuesday from the main stage at the Manchester Central Convention Complex, as she claimed that a Labour victory in next year’s general election would result in an open borders policy.
She pledged that the UK government will do “whatever it takes” to stop “bogus asylum seekers” reaching Britain. This appeared to be a reference to the possibility of the UK leaving the European Convention on Human Rights, if it prevents a toughening of British laws.
Andrew Boff, a Conservative Party member of the London Assembly, shouted “nonsense” at Ms Braverman during a later section of her speech that was focused on her criticism of “gender ideology”.
“There is no such thing as gender ideology,” he said, as he was escorted from the hall by security and ejected through a side door. Ms Braverman continued with her speech throughout the disturbance.
The home secretary, whose Indian-origin parents emigrated to Britain from Africa in the 1960s, said immigration into the UK during that period would be dwarfed by numbers in the future.
“One of the most powerful forces reshaping our world is unprecedented mass migration,” she said. “The wind of change that carried my own parents across the globe in the 20th century was a mere gust compared to the hurricane that is coming.”
Ms Braverman suggested politicians had been in a “bubble of complacency” and “too slow” to deal with rising immigration for the past 30 years, although she was careful not to blame UK prime minister Rishi Sunak. Ms Braverman would be among the favourites to replace him if he were forced to step down after next year’s election.
She suggested supporters of mass immigration held “luxury beliefs” that should “no longer be paid for by the British people”.
“Demand [to come to Britain] will always outstrip supply,” she said, while insisting that the UK had been “generous” and “decent” in the number of migrants it had accepted.
She blamed laws made by previous Labour governments for the struggles the Conservative government have endured over their 13 years in power in their attempts to cut the numbers of legal and illegal arrivals. She also blamed international law.
“Our country has become enmeshed in a dense net of international rules that were designed for another era.”
Labour, she claimed, had “turbocharged” the impact of those laws. She claimed she faced “abuse” from some people because she “tells the truth” on issues such as immigration and the impact of human rights law.
“But I take their abuse as a compliment,” she said, as she went on in her speech to focus on law and order.
Her most hardline remarks were punctuated by widespread rounds of applause among the delegates present, many of whom gave her a standing ovation at the end. The main hall was packed out for her speech, in contrast to the rows of empty chairs for some other cabinet speakers.