Albanian PM hits out at Braverman over ‘disgraceful’ comments on migrants

Edi Rama says home secretary’s references to ‘Albanian criminals’ could themselves be considered a crime

The Albanian prime minister has criticised the UK home secretary, Suella Braverman, calling the singling out of migrants from his country a “disgraceful” moment for British politics.

Edi Rama, who is in Britain for talks with Rishi Sunak, said Braverman’s comments last year about “Albanian criminals” crossing the Channel in small boats, could themselves be considered a crime.

“Unfortunately, we have seen ourselves and our community being singled out in this country for purposes of politics. It has been a very, very disgraceful moment for British politics,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Braverman’s remarks were a “low point”, he said, adding political will to overcome the souring of relations remained.

“What has been [said] by members of the cabinet, starting with the home secretary, [is] the singling out of our community, which is not something you do in our civilisation, and is something that does not represent Britain at all,” he said. “We will always refuse to have this mix between some criminals and the Albanians as such because giving to the crime an ethnic seal is itself a crime.”

Braverman angered many Albanians with her comments about their citizens in parliament last October. “If Labour were in charge they would be allowing all the Albanian criminals to come to this country, they would be allowing all the small boats to come to the UK, they would open our borders and totally undermine the trust of the British people in controlling our sovereignty,” she told MPs.

The home secretary was also accused of using inflammatory language when she said the south coast of England was being invaded by asylum seekers. At the Conservative party conference she said: “Many of them claim to be trafficked as modern slaves … the truth is that many of them are not modern slaves and their claims of being trafficked are lies.”

Rama, an unconventional centre-left member of the Socialist grouping and prime minister of Albania since 2013, said he was “very satisfied” with Sunak’s conduct. “We have set up a clear path towards tackling together whatever has to be excluded from our relations and from our world of law and justice but at the same time making sure that some rotten apples do not define the Albanian community here and our relations,” he said.


Alexandra Topping

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Britain is targeting Albanians to excuse policy failures, says country’s PM
Edi Rama urges ministers to ‘stop discriminating’ after Suella Braverman’s ‘Albanian criminals’ comments

Rajeev Syaland Aina J Khan

02, Nov, 2022 @3:34 PM

Article image
‘Come to Germany and learn’: Albanian PM criticises UK’s immigration stance
Edi Rama tells press conference in Berlin that UK rhetoric sounds like ‘screams from a madhouse’

Rajeev Syal

04, Nov, 2022 @12:00 AM

Article image
Can Sunak win over voters – and his party – with overhaul of asylum system?
Immigration and asylum now poll third among issues facing the UK, and PM knows he needs to rise to the challenge

Aubrey Allegretti

13, Dec, 2022 @7:12 PM

Article image
Albanian children facing racist bullying due to UK asylum row, says envoy
Albania’s ambassador to UK calls for end to ‘campaign of discrimination’ amid debate over small boat arrivals

Rajeev Syal Home affairs editor

07, Dec, 2022 @1:22 PM

Article image
Albanian with British-born children faces deportation after decade in UK
Man, who has no criminal record, says Home Office is unfairly targeting Albanians as it fast-tracks removals

Nicola Kelly

26, Aug, 2022 @2:17 PM

Article image
Gary Lineker responds to critics of his immigration policy comments
Presenter mocks ‘freedom of speech champions … demanding silence from those with whom they disagree’

Caroline Davies and Jane Clinton

08, Mar, 2023 @7:35 PM

Article image
Proportion of refugees granted UK asylum hits 32-year high
More than three-quarters have claims approved, as figures show big rise in Albanians crossing Channel

Rajeev Syal Home affairs editor

25, Aug, 2022 @1:02 PM

Article image
Suella Braverman urges Sunak not to ditch Northern Ireland protocol bill
First sign of cabinet tensions emerges as Downing Street plays down hopes that deal with EU will be clinched on Tuesday

Jessica Elgot, Pippa Crerar and Kiran Stacey

20, Feb, 2023 @7:51 PM

Article image
MEPs condemn Suella Braverman over arrest of French publisher
Ernest Moret was interrogated by UK counter-terrorist police when he arrived in London on Tuesday

Matthew Weaver and Dan Sabbagh

20, Apr, 2023 @3:24 PM

Article image
Labour refers Suella Braverman to financial watchdog over email leak
Exclusive: ‘Growth visas’ policy leak could have influenced markets and breached market abuse laws, letter to FCA argues

Aubrey Allegretti, Rajeev Syal and Jamie Grierson

01, Nov, 2022 @6:00 PM