Suella Braverman has renewed her commitment to tackling illegal migration during a visit to Monmouthshire. The Home Secretary was in Usk on Friday evening after being invited to a reception hosted by Monmouth Conservative Association. One of Britain’s four most senior politicians, Suella visited the Three Salmons Hotel to meet with local Conservative members. Among the attendees were regional Senedd members Natasha Asghar and Laura Anne Jones, and Monmouthshire County Council Conservative group leader Richard John. As Secretary of State for Wales, I was honoured to formally welcome my fellow cabinet colleague to the constituency. Suella wanted to come to Usk because of the strength of the Conservative Party here in Monmouthshire and I am incredibly proud that our corner of Southeast Wales is on the map as far as the Home Secretary is concerned. It was a great pleasure to hear her views and priorities for getting to grips with the problem of people entering the UK illegally to seek asylum. Members agreed that we need to clamp down on people smugglers who are exploiting migrants and encouraging them to risk their lives by crossing the English Channel in small boats. Record numbers of people crossed the Channel in recent years, including 45,755 in 2022. There are widespread concerns, not least about the welfare of those on the boats, but the strain this is putting on services. We are seeing the impact it is having on local communities when hundreds of asylum seekers have to be accommodated in hotels – for example, in Llanelli. I fully support the UK Government’s policy to send illegal migrants to safe third countries such as Rwanda, where they will be housed while any asylum or human rights claims are heard. We need to take back control of our borders, otherwise the alternative is an open-door immigration policy. There has already been a huge reduction in the number of migrants coming from Albania, with people being deported quickly. Unfortunately, political opponents and pressure group are campaigning against the Rwanda scheme and frustrating government policy, which is stopping us from ending the unfair abuse of our asylum system.
The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has been a fixture of Welsh cultural life for many decades and I was delighted to spend time in North Wales supporting this year’s festival. I met people from all parts of the world, including Trinidad and Tobago, Indonesia and Ukraine. It is a wonderful event and I would encourage anyone who hasn’t been before to go along next year. You are missing out on a lot of fun otherwise!
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 19 July 2023 and Abergavenny Chronicle on 20 July 2023*