Tory Peer demands Home Secretary withdraw inflammatory remarks

4/14/2023 11:19 PM

Home Secretary's remarks 'inflammatory and divisive'

The former cabinet minister and former Conservative Party Chair Baroness Warsi, has demanded that the Home Secretary Suella Braverman, withdraw her recent comments relating to 'grooming gangs' in Rochdale, Rotherham and Telford, in which the Home Secretary had said that such grooming gangs were dominated by a:

predominance [of] British Pakistani males, who hold cultural values totally at odds with British values’,

The Home Secretary was also called out for comments made stating that the police and council workers had:

turned a blind eye to these signs of abuse out of political correctness and out of fear of being called racist’.  

Baroness Warsi joined a coalition of senior medical specialists and Pakistan umbrella organisations in a volley of letters sent to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak which attacked the the Home Secretary's dog-whistling as ‘inflammatory and divisive’.

Letters sent to the Prime Minister

A letter from The British Pakistan Foundation (BPF), which boasts a membership of more than 18,000 was one of many letters sent by parliamentarians, lobby groups and umbrella organisations to the Prime Minister on this issue. It said:

'We are writing to share our deep concern and disappointment at the Home Secretary’s recent comments and for you not speaking out against them. These comments singled out only the involvement of British Pakistani males in so-called ‘grooming gangs’ and ‘holding cultural values totally at odds with “British values”.

The letter further pointed out that:

 ‘A report commissioned by the Home Office in 2020, entitled “The characteristics of group-based child exploitation in the community”, concluded that the majority of child exploitation offenders are White and further went on to note that, despite some high profile cases, links between ethnicity and this form of offending cannot be proven. The NSPCC’s Chief Executive warned that the further entrenchment of such a narrative could create ‘new blind spots that prevent victims from being identified’.  

Home Secretary's remarks contradicted by last week's sentencing of 21 Walsall sex abusers

Remarkably, the statements made by the Home Secretary seemed to be contrasted by headlines in last weeks newspapers which highlighted the conviction of twenty one ‘White’ men and women who had committed serious sexual offences against children in Walsall, in what was announced as ‘the largest child sexual abuse investigation conducted by West Midlands Police’. The Walsall case, which involved sexual offences against seven children, all under the age of 12 over nearly a ten year period, was described as:

‘the most appalling catalogue of sexual abuse’

The timing of the sentencing of the 21 Walsall sexual offenders last week after 15 months of legal proceedings, no doubt underlined key statements made in the earlier letter from the BPF to the Prime Minister which noted that:

‘Further, the National Policing lead on child sexual abuse emphasised that ‘child abusers come from all parts of our society and sadly most abuse happens in the home’.  

Baroness Warsi expressed her concern that remarks by the Home Secretary left vulnerable British Asians fearful of attacks. She said that the Home Secretary was ‘tarnishing a whole community’ in her focus on British Pakistani men who Baroness Warsi said were merely a ‘small subset’ of perpetrators of the abuse against 100s of thousands of child victims of sexual abuse each year.

The first Asian Cabinet Minister, Baroness Warsi, went further to condemn more ‘inflammatory’ statements made by the Home Secretary relating to statistics on migrants coming to this country. Challenging Ms. Braverman’s misuse of data, she referred to statements defining migrant arrivals as an ‘invasion’. and a recent statement made by the Home Secretary which stated:

100 million people around the world could qualify for protection under the current UK asylum laws...they are coming here’

This week following a freedom of information request from a Human Rights Group, the Home Office was forced to admit that it has no evidence to support a claim made by former Home Secretary Priti Patel that:

'70% of individuals on small boats are single men who are effectively economic migrants'.

In fact the Home Office's own data shows that at least 60% of those arriving are recognised as refugees. This statement made by the former Home Secretary has never been retracted and was subsequently endorsed by and reiterated by the current Home Secretary, Suela Braverman, who stated:

There is considerable evidence that people are coming here as economic migrants, illegally.’

'These kinds of statements are deployed to demonise and dehumanise people'

The Migrations and Advocacy Officer at Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Sophie McCann said: ‘The government has failed to provide any evidence to support claims that the majority of those trying to reach the UK are so-called economic migrants. These kinds of statements are deployed to demonise and dehumanize people seeking safety here, stirring up divisions, with real and dangerous consequences. We know that many people whoreach the UK are fleeing war, persecution and other hardships…and lots have survived violence, torture and trafficking.’