London, Thanasis Gavos

Politicians should question whether the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention is appropriate for modern times, the UK’s home secretary for immigration will say in a speech in Washington on Tuesday. Suella Braverman.

Speaking at an event by the centre-right think tank American Enterprise Institute the minister, who represents the far right wing of the ruling Conservative Party, will describe the Convention as an “incredible achievement for its time”.

But he will add that changes in the interpretation of the provisions of the convention have led to increased numbers of people being designated as refugees.

The Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees drawn up after World War II states that refugees should not be returned to countries where their lives or freedoms are threatened.

“We live in a completely different time now,” Ms. Braverman will say and continue:

“There are huge parts of the world where it’s extremely difficult to be gay or to be a woman. In cases where people are being persecuted, it is right to offer refuge. But we will not be able to maintain an asylum system if simply being gay or female or fearing discrimination in your home country is enough to entitle you to protection. The status quo, whereby people can travel through multiple safe countries, and even live in safe countries for years, while choosing their preferred destination to seek asylum is outrageous and unsustainable.”

The speech comes as the British government prepares to defend in the High Court its plan to stem illegal flows of migrants and refugees across the Channel.

The plan is to send those arriving on British soil by boat to Rwanda, with which an agreement has been reached. However, the plan has been legally blocked following appeals.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper accused Ms Braverman of admitting an inability to fix the immigration system and looking for other people to blame.