Patel in threat to sue Braverman
By Glen Owen and Dan Hodges
dmg media (UK)
The Party’s Over
FORMER Home Secretary Priti Patel has threatened to sue her successor Suella Braverman in a row over migrant policy. After being told Ms Braverman’s Home Office had put the blame for overcrowding at Manston asylum centre in Kent on her, Ms Patel is understood to have phoned Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and said if Ms Braverman did not retract the claim within an hour she would start legal action for defamation. It is the latest twist in a ‘cold war’ between the two, with allies of Ms Patel claiming she is being ‘scapegoated’ for policy failures associated with the small boats crisis. A source said: ‘Priti erupted when she was told that her record was being criticised. Simon Case had to calm her down.’ Tensions between Ms Braverman and Ms Patel came to a head over claims that a failure to book sufficient hotels for migrants led to overcrowding at the Manston processing centre, with Ms Patel blamed for making the process more bureaucratic than it need be. Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick told the Commons he inherited an overflowing Manston after ‘insufficient accommodation was procured over a sustained period’. Ms Patel denies this, insisting she had not made any changes to the hotel booking system. Rishi Sunak has made ending the tide of people crossing the Channel and then claiming asylum one of his top priorities. Earlier this month, he introduced new laws which he says will finally put a brake on the ‘human rights’ farce that allows migrants to resist deportation from the UK. In October, Ms Braverman criticised a deal with India, signed by Ms Patel, to increase the number of illegal migrants and overstayers being returned there, saying it ‘has not necessarily worked very well’. A Government source said: ‘Suella has never publicly criticised the former Home Secretary. Any suggestion she has briefed privately is totally wrong. There was a block on new hotel bookings which contributed to the crisis at Manston.’ Ms Patel declined to comment.