SUELLA Braverman has come in for fierce criticism for comments she will make on gay asylum speakers in a speech on Tuesday.

The Home Secretary is to set out her case for a major overhaul of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, signed by 146 countries, and gradually incorporated into UK case law over the past seven decades.

Speaking in Washington at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank, Braverman (below) will argue for a narrower definition of the term “refugee”.

The National:

She will also say the convention is outdated and that “we now live in a completely different time”.

Braverman will add that asylum seekers “shop around” for their “preferred destination” and that nobody who crosses the Channel should be treated as a refugee.

It is likely her comments could put the UK on a collision course with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which governs the Refugee Convention and has already condemned Westminster over its Illegal Migration Act and policy to deport people to Rwanda.

In the same speech, Braverman will say there has been a shift away from a “well-founded fear” towards a “credible” or “plausible” fear which she believes has resulted in an expansion in the number of people who may qualify for asylum.

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“Let me be clear, there are vast swathes of the world where it is extremely difficult to be gay, or to be a woman," she will say.

“Where individuals are being persecuted, it is right that we offer sanctuary. But we will not be able to sustain an asylum system if, in effect, simply being gay or a woman and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin is sufficient to qualify for protection.”

Responding to these comments on Twitter/X, SNP MP Stewart McDonald said: “Gay asylum seekers and refugees make up a tiny minority of all cases, so to single them out in her campaign to be the next Tory leader, Braverman yet again displays appalling, nasty and cruel instincts that are at odds with common decency.

“Unfit for office.”

The National:

A number of refugee charities and organisations have also condemned Braverman for her comments, including Rainbow Migration who said: “We are appalled to hear that the Home Secretary is questioning the legitimacy of LGBTQI+ people claiming asylum in the UK.

“The Government’s own statistics suggest that only two per cent of all asylum claims in 2022 included sexual orientation as a reason for needing protection.

“It is already the case that LGBTQI+ people must face a well-founded fear of persecution to qualify for refugee protection in the UK.”

Elsewhere, UK chief executive of the International Rescue Committee Laura Kyrke-Smith urged the UK Government to “focus its efforts on processing asylum claims quickly and fairly and establishing safe alternative routes to claim asylum”.

“There are pragmatic ways to stop the small boats crossing the Channel, without taking aim at the Refugee Convention.”

Braverman will also argue that migrants who pass through multiple safe countries should no longer be treated as refugees, which would affect tens of thousands of migrants who have already entered Europe this year and travelled on to other countries, including the UK. Between January and August, 232,350 migrants crossed the EU’s external borders without authorisation, an increase of a fifth on last year.

She will say: “The status quo, where people are able to travel through multiple safe countries, and even reside in safe countries for years, while they pick their preferred destination to claim asylum, is absurd and unsustainable.

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“Nobody entering the UK by boat from France is fleeing imminent peril. None of them have ‘good cause’ for illegal entry.

“The vast majority have passed through multiple safe countries, and in some instances have resided in safe countries for several years. In this sense, there is an argument that they should cease to be treated as refugees when considering the legitimacy of their onward movement.”