Brussels tried to silence me and Nigel Farage. Here's the speech I was making when the Establishment attempted to gag me, says Suella Braverman

Brussels tried to silence me and Nigel Farage. Here's the speech I was making when the Establishment attempted to gag me, says Suella Braverman

Suella Braverman gave a speech to the National Conservative Conference earlier this week

Suella Braverman

By Suella Braverman

Published: 18/04/2024

- 18:06

Updated: 19/04/2024

- 07:15

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman gave a speech to the National Conservative Conference in Brussels when police tried to cancel the event

When did standing up for millions of people and wanting to control our borders become a crime? That was the question posed by the actions of the Brussels Mayor this week after he repeatedly tried to shut down the National Conservative Conference being held in his city.

Court order in hand, and like something from a remote Soviet bloc town in the 1970s, he despatched the thought police to evict us all, many democratically elected legislators, from a private venue and send us back home.

It was both farcical and a serious threat to the right of free speech which we, in Britain, and many on the continent, have cherished for centuries.

It appeared the socialist mayor, who saw the ultra-radical Mayor of Tehran welcomed to his city last year, had deemed us to be ‘far-right’ and therefore undesirables in the de facto capital of the EU.

I’m not someone who complains about the smears or attacks – often about me personally – as I always tell myself it comes with the territory of elected office. But what I have come to see is that the increasingly wild attempts to shut down debate are backfiring on these little charlatans and self-appointed judges of permitted thought.

So when I hear “far-right”, I hear “We don’t have anything to say.” I hear that they have nothing to say about how we control our borders. I hear that they don’t have anything to say about the desire of millions of people across Britain to live in a safe and secure country, where there are first-rate public services and affordable housing for those who want to buy their first home.

When I hear the facile label of “far-right”, I see that it’s losing its impact. Because millions of people have legitimate concerns and say otherwise. Because our critics’ draconian and over-the-top attempts to silence lawful and peaceful discussion of ideas that millions of people have voted for reveals their innate weakness and fear.

Disagree with me, debate me, refute my ideas with evidence. But deny me my right to express my view? That’s cowardice, right there. In any event, the police failed to gag me and the conference has been allowed to continue after the rather terrible mayor of Brussels was overruled, exposing the utter stupidity of his actions.

So why were they so scared that armed police came to shut down free debate? The purpose of my speech in Brussels was to lay out a plan to finally stop the boats and show the millions of people across Britain that we’re serious about securing our borders and preventing anyone who wants to from just breaking into the country.

It should start now, by leaving the European Convention on Human Rights. Not by putting it in a manifesto, nor promising another referendum - we’ve had enough of those. But now.

Today, the Prime Minister could invoke Article 58 of the ECHR, write a letter to the Council of Europe giving six months’ notice of departure and begin the process of finally taking back control of our borders. He would need to introduce a Bill into Parliament to confirm the departure, repeal Labour’s Human Rights Act and set out a plan for our own British Bill of Rights governed by British courts, not the Strasbourg Court.

On the current timetable for a general election this year, it means that it would be fought in the Autumn on sticking to our plan to leave or Labour’s idea of threatening to undo it all if they get into power and hand back control to Strasbourg.

I’ve been arguing to leave the ECHR for some time now but last week’s egregious overreach - when the court imposed its net zero climate change agenda on the Swiss people against their express wish in a referendum vote - has convinced many more people the Strasbourg Court is increasingly politicised, interventionist and undermining democracy.

Our membership cannot go on. Reform from within is not possible - David Cameron tried more than 10 years ago and it changed nothing.

To the critics, let’s put to bed this notion the Good Friday Agreement would collapse upon our leaving – it won’t. Because our UK courts will have the power to ensure protection of civil liberties and human rights in Northern Ireland and remain compliant with the terms of the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

The truth is that we have been tinkering around the edges of this problem for years and years. We still have one final window in which to do the vital work if we are to stop the boats.

If we include a half-hearted pledge in a Conservative manifesto for a general election that we are on course to lose right now, we set the cause back by 5-10 years. Far better for the Prime Minister to use the majority and authority that he has right now: withdraw from the ECHR, repeal the Human Rights Act, legislate for our own Bill of Rights and get regular flights off to Rwanda. That’s how we turn this around and stop the boats. Anything else is failure.

And to the trumped-up censors and thought police attempting to silence me, I say that you won’t win. Millions of people want real action, and I’ll keep striving for them until we get it.

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