JACOB Rees-Mogg has said refugees use self-harm as a way to "game the system" to claim asylum.

Ahead of Suella Braverman's address to the Tory conference, Rees-Mogg was asked about his asylum system opinions.

He said the decision to provide refuge "depends on where people come from and how they've got here".

He said people who cross the Channel on a small boat have "come from a safe country", which is the "fundamental issue".

"Just because someone has a particular attribute and [is] coming from a country where that attribute is not persecuted, it doesn't mean that attribute is automatically one that would entitle them to asylum.

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"But from another country where they're persecuted, it would. So it depends where they've come from and how they've got here."

Asked what would happen in a hypothetical case where a gay person from Rwanda - not sent there by the UK having had their asylum claim rejected - had stowed away on a flight to the UK, Rees-Mogg said they would be granted asylum depending on the circumstances.

But he insisted that any LGBT+ individual sent to Rwanda under the agreement with the UK "will be protected, they will be safeguarded, they will have no fear of persecution".

"Some people self-harm in order to get asylum"

He was also asked about Braverman's assertion - backed up by cabinet colleagues - that some people pretend to be gay in order to "game the system" and claim asylum.

The Home Office has not provided evidence to substantiate this claim, but pointed to official figures showing less than 4% of asylum claims are based on sexuality.

But Rees-Mogg said: "People will certainly answer questions according to what maximises their chance of getting asylum.

"Some people self-harm in order to get asylum," he added.

He also said border officials have "real difficulty" separating genuine cases from ones that are not.

The National: Jacob Rees-Mogg

He was subsequently criticised online, one user said: "Rees-Mogg knows about gaming the system for his own personal gain. Asking how he gamed the system on his company loans to avoid tax or moving his business out of the UK?"

Another commented: "Jacob Rees-Mogg pretends to care about this country but he's happy for his money to live abroad to evade the taxes due".

Braverman is expected to make a "Suella uncut" speech at around 3:30 pm this afternoon which some commentators believe will be the makings of a potential leadership bid.

During a trip to the US last Tuesday, Braverman claimed multiculturalism had failed and said the international asylum system needed to be changed. Some claimed she was using a visit to the US to increase her leadership hopes.