The Johnson and Patel way of dealing with asylum seekers exposes a “brutal hostility towards vulnerable people” says charity chief

Posted: 28 June, 2021 | Category: Current News Category: Features & Analysis Category: Uncategorized

Asylum seekers crossing the Channel on their way to the land of Hope and Glory


By Trevor Grundy

June 22 marked the 73rd anniversary of the arrival of the ship Windrush and the start of new lives in the Mother Country for 492 people of Caribbean origin  with full rights to citizenship.

As descendants of that historic arrival celebrated,  Home Secretary Priti Patel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson were planning to introduce new laws to enable the British government to send asylum seekers thousands of miles from where they want to get to – anywhere safe in Europe, especially  the United Kingdom.

The Windrush arrives in Britain in 1948


Priti Patel is scion of a well-heeled Ugandan-Indian family which left Africa in the 1960s a decade before Idi Amin expelled almost 60,000 Asians from his country (in August 1972)  The family head set up a string of newsagents.

In a radio interview with LBC on  February 19, 2020 she told  Nick Ferrari that her own parents might not have been allowed into Britain under the new laws she was proposing.

Now, she is preparing to open talks with Denmark about sharing an immigration vetting centre.

Speculation mounts that the centre could be somewhere in Africa, probably Rwanda.


A report in The Times by Matt Dathan, (June,28) says a new Nationality and Borders Bill will include a provision to create an off-shore immigration processing centre for asylum seekers for the first time.

It’s well-known that Boris Johnson is disturbed and angry after the arrival this year of 5,600 migrants who crossed the Channel in small, dangerously over-crowded rubber dinghies.

“The Times has learnt,” the report says, “that Home Office ministers and officials have discussed their proposals with their counterparts in Denmark which passed its own law this month to process asylum seekers outside Europe. Denmark is said to be planning to send asylum seekers to a centre in Rwanda. Two Danish ministers went to that central African Commonwealth country last month to sign a memorandum on asylum and immigration.”

The Times said that the Home Office in London has also studied Australia’s policy which bans asylum seekers travelling by sea.

Australia re-directs them to offshore immigration accommodation centres in neighbouring sites, mainly in Papau New Guinea.

An un-named government source is quoted by the journalist as saying – “The prime minister and home secretary are determined to look at anything that might make a difference on Channel crossings. The numbers have a psychological and political impact that goes far beyond the actual numbers involved. The idea that people are coming in apparently at will doesn’t exactly give the impression we’re in control, especially when people are washing up in dinghies.”

Boris Johnson and Priti Patel in the House of Commons

“Take Back Control“ was one of the key slogans embraced by those who wanted to leave Europe, the Brexiteers.

Many respected political analysts and commentators believe that the referendum by the leavers not because of a dislike of Europeans but because ordinary people wanted a massive clamp-down on immigration.

From now on, the message to would-be asylum seekers is  – If you cross illegally, then your asylum applications are going to be treated less favourably by the authorities.

That could be a return to where you came from and thumbs down on future entry to Britain.

The plan is expected to face severe opposition from charities, human rights activists and opposition parties.

Said Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council charity – ”For generations, men women and children seeking protection in the UK have been given a fair hearing on British soil. Most have re-built their lives as law-abiding citizens making a huge contribution to our communities. Off-shore processing is an act of  cruel and brutal hostility towards vulnerable people who through no fault of their own have had to flee war, oppression and terror.”

Now there’s a story doing the rounds that the British and Danes will help sell the idea of an offshore centre by delivering a joint photo opportunity.

Says Dathan –  ”Insiders believe that showing the public than an EU member state has similar plans (as Britain ) will help to dispel criticism from the Left that the proposals are inhumane.”

In other words, what’s right for an EU member state must be right for the UK.

Said The Times reporter- “Proposals to create off-shore centres as far away as Ascension Island were dismissed as ‘blue-sky thinking’ by the government less than a year ago. The prime minister and Patel are understood, however, to have warmed to the idea after becoming increasingly doubtful of other solutions.”

It could be a good idea, especially if you’re a member of the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee.

Rwanda is over 6,000 miles from the United Kingdom, Ascension Island 4,000 miles, far away from the “ cruel and brutal” people Enver Solomon spoke about.