PRIME MINISTER Rishi Sunak has expressed his admiration for the country’s ‘fantastic multicultural democracy’, directly contrasting the recent comments made by home secretary Suella Braverman, who claimed that multiculturalism had failed.
Braverman faced criticism from fellow Tory MPs after she asserted during a speech to a right-wing US thinktank that global leaders had refrained from enacting comprehensive reforms of human rights laws due to concerns about being labeled ‘racist or illiberal’.
According to her, multiculturalism makes no demands of the incomer to integrate.
“It has failed because it allowed people to come to our society and live parallel lives in it … And, in extreme cases, they could pursue lives aimed at undermining the stability and threatening the security of society,” she said.
“We are living with the consequence of that failure today. You can see it play out in the streets all over Europe, from Malmö to Paris, Brussels to Leicester.”
When asked by the BBC whether he supported Braverman’s viewpoint, Sunak chose not to endorse her.
“I think that this is something that is incredible about this country, is that it is a fantastic multicultural democracy,” the prime minister is reported to have said.
“We have done an incredible job of integrating people into society and one of the lovely things about getting the job I have, as the first person from my background to hold this job, that’s a wonderful thing, but it’s also not a big deal in our country.
“I think that speaks to the progress we’ve made over the years and how far we’ve come and something we should all be collectively incredibly proud of.”
Braverman’s speech on Tuesday (26), perceived by some as a veiled pitch for support from the Tory right in anticipation of a future leadership contest, labeled multiculturalism as a ‘misguided dogma’ that had allowed individuals to ‘live parallel lives’.
In her speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, the minister said that the international community had failed to reform the UN’s refugee convention of 1951 and the European convention on human rights (ECHR).
Soon after her comments, the UN’s refugee agency criticised the British home secretary.
“The refugee convention is just as important today as when it was created. When individuals face the risk of persecution due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, it’s vital that they can seek safety and protection,” the UNHCR said in a statement.
When Sunak was asked if he would consider withdrawing from the ECHR, he reiterated his confidence that the government’s immigration strategy, including stalled plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, complied with international obligations.