Fans outraged at Priti Patel’s interview in Brentford stadium

Image above: the Home Secretary Priti Patel at Brentford FC

Home Secretary defends Rwanda policy at Brentford FC

Brentford supporters have reacted angrily to the “highly contentious political remarks” made by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, on her recent visit to Brentford FC.

Using the Bees’ stadium on Lionel Road as a backdrop, Priti Patel insisted that the Government’s controversial Rwanda deportation policy was “safe”, after court documents revealed officials in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) had concerns deportees could be tortured and killed on arrival.

When responding to questions from journalists, Ms Patel said: “Well, actually, Rwanda is a safe country.

“All our work has shown that and the government-to-government work has shown that too,” she added.

“You are of course referring to comments made from officials in a different government department, but of course, it’s the Home Office that has led the Economic Development Migration Partnership, which is our resettlement partnership to Rwanda.

“Rwanda is a safe country and all our work with the government of Rwanda shows that.”

Image above: Brentford Stadium on Lionel Road

Brentford FC “hijacked by the toxic Priti Patel and her tragic policy”

One supporter, Nick Carthew, said on Twitter:

“Why have Brentford FC allowed Priti Patel to make highly contentious political remarks while inside our stadium? The club have a very strong diversity and inclusion stance. What say you @CliffCrown?”

Another fan, Dave Lane, said:

“More than disappointing that the good name of our football club and all the hard work BrentfordFC has made in making the new stadium welcoming and inclusive has been hijacked by the toxic @PritiPatel and her tragic policy”

In a statement following the Home Secretary’s visit, Brentford FC said the “sole purpose” of the visit was to see the club’s new safe standing sections and to discuss efforts to create and maintain a safe environment on match days.

“These are two very important issues to us which heavily rely on Government and legislative support.

“Media activities on the day were hosted by the Home Office. While she was at the stadium, the Home Secretary was asked about a number of other matters that were entirely separate to the purpose of her visit.”

Brentford FC “should have anticipated” wider political questioning from journalists

Supporters’ group Bees United said the club should have anticipated wider political questioning from journalists and prevented the Home Office from using the stadium as a backdrop.

‘Brentford FC was asked by the Premier League to host a visit yesterday by the Home Secretary during which she would talk to the media about public order in football.

‘The Club agreed but should have anticipated that the media would ask about wider political issues such as government policy towards asylum seekers. Brentford’s stadium thus became the background for political views which are not universally shared by fans.

‘BU are clear that politicians who visit our stadium are welcome to talk about football issues but not to use it as a platform for their other views. We hope the Club will learn from this and review their press planning to ensure all events are in keeping with our values’.

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