Tories go to war over migrants as Suella Braverman warns ‘pampered, out-of-touch’ celebrities like Elton John and Gary Lineker to stop lecturing ministers about refugees – but is accused of ‘attention seeking’ by predecessor Priti Patel

Suella Braverman is at the centre of a furious row with celebrities including Elton John and Gary Lineker and even her Tory predecessor as Home Secretary today over her hardline immigration stance.

Mrs Braverman launched an outspoken broadside against liberal public figures like the Tiny Dancer singer and the former England footballer, accusing them of lecturing the British people ‘from their villas and private jets’.

Last week, Sir Elton – who owns a £15million property on the French Riviera – said that Ms Braverman risked ‘legitimising hate and violence’ after a speech she made in the US accused migrants of  ‘gaming’ the system to secure refugee status. And Mr Lineker, the market trader’s son who is now the BBC’s highest-paid star, tweeted: ‘She can’t possibly know that they [the migrants] are lying.’

But an uncompromising interview with the Mail on Sunday she said: ‘What we are seeing here is out-of-touch pampered elites, lecturing us on how we should think about very, very serious issues affecting the majority of British people, such as illegal migration.

‘These people don’t have to wait in a queue to see a GP, they can just go private. They don’t have to worry about trying to afford a car or buy a house. The vast majority of British people are directly affected by the unprecedented scale of illegal migration. My job is to think of them first ahead of a virtue-signalling, elitist view from Hollywood Central.’ 

However, Ms Braverman’s speech to a Washington DC think tank was criticised by former minister Dame Priti Patel, who accused her of an ‘attention seeking’ attack on multiculturalism.

Dame Priti, who like Mrs Braverman is from the right of the Conservative Party, told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday that her claim that multiculturalism had been a ‘failure’ was wrong.

Suella Braverman has launched an outspoken broadside against ‘pampered, out-of-touch’ celebrities who criticise her immigration policy

In a no-holds-barred Mail on Sunday interview, the Home Secretary fired back at the likes of Sir Elton John and Gary Lineker, branding them members of a ‘virtue-signalling elite’ who lecture the British people ‘from their villas and private jets’

Mr Lineker, the BBC’s highest-paid star, tweeted: ‘She can’t possibly know that they [the migrants] are lying.’ 

Dame Priti, who like Mrs Braverman is from the right of the Conservative Party, told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday that her claim that multiculturalism had been a ‘failure’ was wrong.

Dame Priti, 51, who like her successor was born in England to parents of Indian origin who arrived here via Africa, said: ‘I don’t know what the intention was around that – it might just be to get attention, to have the dividing lines in the run-up to a general election. I can understand that. 

‘But you and I are sitting here today, we are the products of actual integration, multiculturalism, dynamic communities, people who love our country and want to contribute to our country, along with a hell of a lot of other people who have done exactly the same. I think that is something we should be proud of.’ 

Dame Priti is the latest Tory MPs to be angered by Ms Braverman’s comments in the US last week.

The row comes as delegates gather in Manchester for the Conservative Party’s annual conference, with potential leadership candidates vying for prominence. Under an operation codenamed Swooping Eagle, the party is sending ‘spies’ to follow ambitious targets including Ms Braverman and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch.

Last night, Ms Badenoch made a bid to seize the initiative from Ms Braverman by raising the prospect of Britain leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) if the courts continued to use it to block Government plans to deport migrants to Rwanda – just days after the Home Secretary argued the same point.

‘It is definitely something which needs to be on the table,’ Ms Badenoch said.

Ms Braverman, one of the frontrunners to succeed Rishi Sunak as Tory leader, said she didn’t ‘have a problem with anyone flying in private jets or having villas around the world’ but suggested they do not speak for the majority.

‘What I have a problem with is these privileged people telling the British people how they should think. I find that rank hypocrisy and condescending, lecturing tone incredibly inappropriate. These pampered elites are trying to look compassionate and sound virtuous.’

Sir Elton, who is worth £450 million, spent some of the summer on his yacht in St Tropez, while Lineker triggered a storm earlier this year when he accused Ms Braverman of mimicking the messaging used by Nazis in the 1930s.

As Mr Sunak faces a critical week at conference:

Tory MPs, in a mounting revolt, signed a pledge not to vote for any increase in tax as the Prime Minister’s predecessor Liz Truss planned to tell a Great British Growth Rally that the Tories must become ‘the party of business once again’;Right-wing members of the New Conservatives will unveil demands for manifesto policies, including withdrawing from the ECHR, making major cuts to migration and banning gender ideology in schools;Labour insiders claimed that after receiving ‘intelligence’ they were preparing for a May General Election;Sir Keir Starmer’s strategists said that Thursday’s Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, a seat held by the SNP, was the most important for the party for ‘decades’, as Labour needs to take such seats if it is to win the Election;Mr Sunak tried to win the motorist vote by introducing a single app to pay for parking anywhere in the country;The Prime Minister unveiled a £1.1 billion plan for long-term help for 55 ‘left-behind’ towns across the UK.

In her remarks made during a speech in Washington last week, Ms Braverman said the ‘misguided dogma of multiculturalism’ was posing an ‘existential threat’ to the West – prompting Mr Sunak to respond by praising the UK’s ‘fantastic multicultural democracy’. Speaking to the MoS, Ms Braverman defended her remarks by saying: ‘There are many areas around the country where integration hasn’t worked. I think I’m illustrating and voicing a concern shared by the British people.’

In her remarks made during a speech in Washington last week, Ms Braverman said the ‘misguided dogma of multiculturalism’ was posing an ‘existential threat’ to the West – prompting Mr Sunak to respond by praising the UK’s ‘fantastic multicultural democracy’

In Operation Swooping Eagle – a tacit acknowledgement that the conference will mark the unofficial launch of the next Tory leadership race – Ministers will be watched ‘at every event and fringe meeting’, according to one senior staffer, who added: ‘We’re not going to be blindsided like we have been at previous conferences.’

Miriam Cates, another Tory leadership hopeful, will join colleagues from the New Conservatives at a rally to push for ‘five alternative pledges’ they want in the manifesto, as she warned that Western society is threatened by ‘cultural Marxism’ and falling birth rates.

Ms Badenoch is the most popular Cabinet member, according to the influential Conservative Home survey of Tory supporters.

Second is Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, another potential candidate, followed by Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt. Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, who may also be a contender, is tenth.

In her interview, Ms Braverman said that she had ‘grounds for optimism’ that the Supreme Court, which will start a three-day hearing on the Rwanda policy on October 9, would find the Government was acting lawfully.

She said: ‘Obviously we did lose at the Court of Appeal but I very much hope the [Supreme] Court will agree with the Government and find that it’s lawful so that we can operationalise it and get flights off to Rwanda as quickly as possible.’

Failing that, she said, her views on leaving the ECHR were ‘well known’.

But she denied having leadership ambitions, saying: ‘There’s no vacancy. I’m working hand-in-hand with the Prime Minister to stop the boats and win the next General Election.

‘I applaud the Prime Minister for his very courageous stance on some of these tough decisions in the long-term interest of the country. He’s working flat out with me on our plan, and we’re making progress.’

Sir Elton John and Gary Lineker were both approached for comment about the Home Secretary’s remarks.

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