Frustrations over hotels for migrants 'understandable' says Home Secretary
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said housing asylum seekers in hotels is causing "understandable tensions" following ugly clashes between protesters on Merseyside.
She said violence was "never acceptable" but "we are all frustrated with the situation" and it is not "racist or bigoted" to acknowledge the problems caused to communities.
Anti-migrant protesters gathered outside a hotel in Kirkby on February 10 2023, where they have clashed with counter-demonstrators.
Asked if she supported the protesters, Ms Braverman said: "I very much understand people's frustrations with hotels being occupied by large numbers of illegal immigrants or asylum seekers."
In an interview with GB News, Ms Braverman said: "Violence is never acceptable and intimidation, harassment, any forms of abuse to anybody should be condemned and I condemn them in the fullest possible terms.
"And it's clear that we have an unsustainable situation in towns and cities around our country whereby, because of the overwhelming numbers of people arriving here illegally and our legal duties to accommodate them, we are now having to house them in hotels.
"And that is causing understandable tensions within communities, pressures on local resources and is frankly unsustainable."
Ahead of a demonstration planned outside a hotel in Newquay, Cornwall later this month, the county council leader Linda Taylor branded the protesters "racist and bigoted".
But Ms Braverman said: "It is clear and undeniable that there are really serious pressures on communities and saying so does not make you racist or bigoted."
The Government is trying to find alternative accommodation for asylum seekers, including empty holiday parks, former student halls or disused military barracks.
At Prime Minister's Questions, Rishi Sunak said the Home Secretary would make a "formal update" in the coming weeks on progress in finding alternatives to hotels.
The Home Secretary pledged to do "whatever it takes" to put in place a system to deter people from crossing the English Channel in small boats - including the possibility of leaving the European Convention on Human Rights.
"At this stage, nothing's ruled out," she said.
"We need to ensure that we fix this problem of illegal migration. That's my priority and as the Prime Minister himself has said, he'll do whatever it takes to achieve that goal.
"We've had 45,000 people last year arrive here illegally on small boats. That situation is unacceptable.
"We need to design a robust framework. We need to have a deterrent so people stop making the journey in the first place. And we have to do whatever it takes to ensure that we can deliver that."
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