Europe

Albanian PM accuses Suella Braverman of ‘fuelling xenophobia’

Suella Braverman voices concerns about migrants in hotels

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Suella Braverman’s “invasion” comment about migrants crossing the Channel is “fuelling xenophobia”, Albania’s Prime Minister has claimed. Edi Rama, who was re-elected as Albanian Prime Minister for a third successive term in 2021, joined BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire on Newsnight yesterday to discuss comments made by the Home Secretary and Rishi Sunak’s Government.

Mr Rama said: “This kind of language for sure doesn’t come for good.

“This kind of language is not a policy, is not a programme, is not a vision, is nothing but fuelling xenophobia and targeting, singling out, community and practically going totally against the great British tradition of integrating the minorities.

“Britain was a role model in this and now is becoming like, I don’t know, like a madhouse.”

Tirana has also suggested that London should provide young Albanians with visas in an effort to solve the ongoing migrant crisis.

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However, Albanians are now the biggest group of people crossing the English Channel in small boats.

MPs were told 12,000 Albanians had made the journey so far this year, up from just 50 in 2020.

Mr Rama’s comments come just days after Ms Braverman labelled the Channel crossings as an “invasion”.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the Home Secretary said: “The British people deserve to know which party is serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast, and which party is not.

“Some 40,000 people have arrived on the south coast this year alone.

“For many of them, that was facilitated by criminal gangs; some of them are actual members of criminal gangs, so let us stop pretending that they are all refugees in distress.

“The whole country knows that that is not true.

“It is only opposition members who pretend otherwise.”

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick appeared to disagree with Ms Braverman over her choice of words.

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The ex-Housing Secretary 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.”

However, Rishi Sunak appeared to stand by his Home Secretary during his Prime Minister’s Questions bout against Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer yesterday.

Mr Sunak said Ms Braverman was “getting on with the job” and slammed Labour for opposing Brexit, which came with the end of the free movement of people from the European Union.

A UK Government spokesman has since said: “We are always working extremely closely with our Albanian partners on a range of issues and are committed to building on our cooperation to date, including on tackling illegal migration.”

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