UNDER-fire Suella Braverman last night claimed Britain faces an “invasion of our southern coast” — as it emerged illegal migrants could net £6,000 each in compo.
“High numbers” could now take legal action against the government for keeping them at the site for longer than lawful, Braverman admitted to MPs.
In furious scenes in the Commons, she hit back: “The British people deserve to know which party is serious about stopping the invasion on our southern coast and which party is not.
“Let’s stop pretending they are all refugees in distress, the whole country knows that is not true.”
Turning her fire on her own department, she savaged Britain’s “hopelessly lax asylum system” saying “it is broken”.
She added: “Illegal immigration is out of control.”
But she denied accusations she had “deliberately” blocked bookings at new hotels at an average £150 per room a night, and said she was the victim of a “political witch-hunt” ignoring the “facts of the problem”.
At least one legal firm is eyeing up challenges for migrants at the centre, which is only meant to hold them for up to 48 hours.
Insiders predict the migrants would have at least a 70 per cent chance of winning a judicial review, with others saying Ms Braverman was warned directly that the Home Office faced an imminent challenge.
She admitted that the UK was struggling to cope with the sheer scale of arrivals, saying it was “impossible” to procure the needed beds at short notice.
Another 468 migrants arrived in small boats on Sunday, after nearly 1,000 came on Saturday.
She insisted she had “never ignored legal advice” to rent more hotels despite the “ruinous” £6.8million a day cost.
Detention Action said: “Compensation is available when someone has been unlawfully detained.”
The Refugee Council’s Enver Solomon said last night: “This kind of dreadful rhetoric is not only fundamentally wrong, it is incredibly dangerous.”
Labour MP Zarah Sultana said: “Language like this — portraying migrants as ‘invaders’ a day after a centre was set on fire — whips up hate and spreads division.
“She’s totally unfit to be Home Secretary.”
60,000 SET TO CROSS IN YEAR
SMALL boat Channel crossings have already reached record levels in 2022 — with predictions they could hit 60,000 by the year’s end.
One reason is a steep rise in arrivals from Albania, which make up a quarter of the nearly 40,000 total so far this year.
Border Force’s Dan O’Mahoney, said up to two per cent of Albania’s adult male population had come to the UK in small boats.
He told MPs Albanian criminal gangs had gained “a foothold” in northern France. Another pull factor is Theresa May’s Modern Slavery Act, which is used by illegal migrants to block deportation.
Crossing the Channel in small boats has become the main illegal route into the UK. Some 28,526 people made the journey in 2021.
France has stopped only 42 per cent of crossings this year, down from 50 per cent last year. And 85 per cent of Channel migrants who applied for asylum were granted it, MPs were told.