There's nothing uncompassionate about Suella Braverman's plans to stop the small boats

A handout photograph released by the UK Parliament shows Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman giving a statement on the Illegal Migration Bill in the House of Commons in London, on March 7, 2023. - The UK government Tuesday unveiled radical plans to stop migrants crossing the Channel illegally on small boats, acknowledging it is stretching international law amid an outcry from rights campaigners. - ANDY BAILEY/AFP
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As this newspaper reports today, the Government plans to offer a new safe and legal route for refugees. Which means a great many people owe the Home Secretary an apology.

Suella Braverman is no stranger to the brickbats that come with public office, but her treatment by the Left over her plans to stop the small boat crossings has been a disgrace. Her recent trip to Rwanda was mocked and mischaracterised from day one. Photographs were cropped to manufacture outrageous, insupportable narratives of Ms Braverman as a heartless caricature.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It is one of the absurdities of this whole affair that those who have hounded Ms Braverman for using robust language to describe the small boats challenge are nonetheless happy to demonise her position in the most incendiary of ways.

This whole controversy was built on wilful misrepresentation. The Government has always said that it would put in place a safe and legal route to replace the lethal, gang-ridden alternative. Its opponents have either chosen to ignore this awkward fact or have claimed that it was a lie, and that Ms Braverman and Rishi Sunak had no intention of following through on their commitment.

Now they are doing so. On top of Britain’s commitment to take in refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan and Hong Kong, the country will admit an additional 20,000 every year through the new safe route.

The Government is on the right side of public opinion. This is a generous and humane country, but many people are understandably concerned about high levels of migration. The public expects, in particular, that the process for admitting people to the country should be controlled and fair – and are justifiably angry when it appears that our generosity is being exploited.

Indeed, the current situation is a farce – and opponents of the Government’s sensible reforms ought to be more honest about the real logic of their positions. If they refuse to back any measure to bring order to the current chaos, they are implicitly supporting open borders. The electorate certainly has not voted for that.