Priti Patel has defended the UK Government’s approach to immigration removals following protests in Glasgow.
The home secretary insisted that the removal of people with no legal right to be in the UK is “what the British public have voted for”.
Earlier this month, large crowds gathered on Kenmure Street in Pollokshields to blockade an enforcement van as part of a UK Border Agency operation during which two men – Lakhvir Singh and Sumit Sehdev – were detained for around eight hours.
Patel was speaking as part of a conference organised by the Bright Blue and British Future think tanks where she pledged to bring about wholesale reform of the UK’s “broken” immigration system, with proposals for a “fully digital border” within five years”.
Following a question on the events in Glasgow two weeks ago, she said: “In response to Glasgow and the removal of people that had no legal right to be in the UK, I’ve already said in my remarks today, we will continue to do that.
“That is effectively what the British public have voted for, they want, and actually it’s part of my legal duty as well and responsibilities in terms of not just immigration enforcement but removing those with no legal right to be here.
“And the incident alone will very much strengthen through the new plan for immigration the work that we are doing to reinforce the legal powers that we have as a government.
“But also, as I’ve remarked continuously throughout my speech, making sure that we provide legal protections and safe routes for people that are fleeing persecution, and removing those with no legal basis to stay here.”
The SNP’s immigration spokesperson, Glasgow North East MP Anne McLaughlin, said that the people of Glasgow have made it clear they will not let the Home Office ramp up “inhumane raids”.
“These comments from the Home Secretary show, once again, just how out of touch the Tory government is with the people of Scotland,” she said.
“Scotland absolutely did not vote for these cruel immigration raids or any of the other toxic Tory migration policies. Nor did we vote for the Tory government or their hard Brexit that is making the UK more isolationist as the weeks go on.
“Indeed, the people of Glasgow and elsewhere in Scotland have made it abundantly clear that they will not stand by and let the Home Office ramp up these inhumane raids.
“We have made it clear we want a humane migration and asylum system that works for Scotland based on fairness, dignity and respect – just like our social security system.”
She added: “The only way Scotland will have a fair migration system that best suits our country’s needs, and helps us secure a strong, green recovery, is by becoming an independent country.”