THE Home Secretary's comments about LGBT refugees are “unforgivable”, Scotland’s equalities minister has said.

Emma Roddick, speaking on The National’s Holyrood Weekly podcast, criticised the “cynical” nature of Suella Braverman’s extreme speech in the US, where she called for a dismantling of international protections for refugees and claimed multiculturalism had failed.

The Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees took particular issue with the comments Braverman made around the LGBT+ community after the Home Secretary claimed that “many'' people were pretending to be gay in order to claim asylum in the UK.

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Roddick suggested that Braverman was playing to the hard-right of her party as part of a leadership bid rather than dealing with “facts” or “reality”.

“I mean, honestly, I was sitting in the Parliament having a conversation about something else, when I saw the TV bring some of her comments up, the ones around the LGBTQ+ people and my mouth just fell open,” Roddick said.

“I mean you come to expect the kind of policies that they're coming out with, but to have so blatantly laid out there the complete lack of empathy, the willingness to throw, not just, you know, migrants, asylum seekers, under the bus.

“But to bring that kind of negative attention on the LGBTQ+ community, people of colour, it's just unforgivable, really.”

The National:

During her speech to the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday, Braverman (above) argued for a “narrower” definition of what a refugee is, claiming that “simply being gay or a woman and fearful of discrimination” should not qualify people for asylum.

“It's so divorced from reality because we know that people are persecuted for being LGBTQ,” Roddick said.

“I mean it's bad enough here at the moment that people are facing higher levels of hate crime, government ministers coming out and saying these inflammatory things about the community, but to then deny this real persecution, putting people in danger for being who they are, is happening in other countries and causing them to leave.

“I mean it's just so bizarre.”

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Braverman also told the US think tank that multiculturalism had “failed” in Europe and threatens social cohesion.

She also claimed that the UK’s resources were being stretched thin due to illegal migration due to “high birth rates among foreign-born mothers”.

Roddick (below) hit back at the suggestion and claimed Braverman was playing to certain elements of the Tory party.

She said: “I think all of this is rhetoric without facts behind it, or reality running through it. It's just about appealing to a certain demographic that they need to engage to win Tory leadership elections.

The National: Emma Roddick represents the Highlands and Islands at Holyrood

“It's not about best serving the country. It's not about upholding national human rights obligations. It's just about internal party politics and not one of them seems to be capable of separating themselves from that long enough to govern the country.”

One of the key elements that sparked outrage from Braveman’s speech was her suggestion that the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention should be dismantled and questioned its relevance.

The Refugee Convention not only defines the term “refugee” but outlines the rights of those seeking asylum and sets international standards of treatment for their protection.

Braverman claimed that a “fear of being branded a racist or illiberal” has prevented reform of the global asylum system. Her comments were condemned by the UN refugee agency. 

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“It's just horrible,” Roddick told the podcast.

“We keep hearing these suggestions that human rights are dated or not fit for purpose, but that’s completely missing the point that human rights are absolute.

“They apply in all situations to all people.

“If you allow any group of people to be exempt from basic protections, then we're all in danger.”

The National:

Asked if she believed Braverman’s comments would make rhetoric around migrants in refugees in the UK worse, Roddick said: “Definitely.

“We all have a responsibility to [have] discussions on these topics in a responsible space, not a space that allows for the kind of hatred that can lead to people being persecuted here, can lead to hate crime and violence.

“I can't see her in any way taking steps to do that; it's just entirely inflammatory.

“It doesn't allow for empathy, for understanding, it certainly doesn't contribute to the multicultural integration that she seems to seek.”

The Holyrood Weekly podcast will be available to stream on The National’s website, the Omny streaming platform and Spotify on Friday.