The Daily Telegraph
Ben & Jerry’s taken to task for ‘to-do list’ over migrants
MPS criticise ice-cream company for tweet to new Home Secretary and involvement in politics
BEN & JERRY’S, the ice cream company, is facing criticism for publishing a “todo list” for Suella Braverman, the new Home Secretary, suggesting that she should “scrap the Rwanda plan” and take dessert breaks.
The firm’s UK Twitter account tweeted a message of congratulations to Ms Braverman, accompanied with the image of a list including various objectives for her first day in the role yesterday, such as to “introduce safe routes to the UK for people seeking asylum” and “lift the ban and give people seeking asylum the right to work”.
The company also included a coffee and ice cream break in the list, yet drew ire from commentators.
Yesterday, John Hayes MP said: “If you want to buy some ice cream you go to an ice cream company, if you want public policy you don’t.”
It came as Ms Braverman made her first speech to Home Office staff, after which it was suggested that she could seek joint beach patrols with the French authorities to help prevent Channel migrant crossings.
A decision over extending last year’s £54 million agreement with the French was put on hold over the summer until a new Prime Minister and Home Secretary were installed.
MPS have been told by allies of Ms Braverman that the funding could be used as a lever to establish joint Border Force and gendarmerie patrols on the north French beaches used by the smugglers to launch the small boats.
The French have resisted for fear of undermining sovereignty but one MP said: “Suella has floated that she wants to have joint patrols.
“A lot of the French opposition was Emmanuel Macron posturing around the presidential election. We do joint security, we do joint intelligence and we do need joint patrols on their side.”
Yesterday, in her address to staff in a packed Home Office atrium , Ms Braverman said tackling the Channel migrant crisis was going to be one of her “clear priorities” as she told them she was going to “develop some obsessions”.
She said: “This is not just a manifesto pledge, people are dying.” And she promised to take a “firmer line” against people traffickers.
It was one of the priorities she outlined, alongside making streets safer through a back-to-basics approach to crime with the extra 20,000 officers and counter-terrorism.
Both Ms Braverman and Liz Truss are committed to the Rwanda asylum policy, currently stalled by a High Court challenge over its legality.
It is not the first time Ben & Jerry’s has landed in hot water over a political stance. Kemi Badenoch has previously called out the “Ben & Jerry’s tendencies” of companies focusing on social justice rather than profits, and it is currently locked in legal battles with parent company Unilever over its decision to stop selling ice cream in the occupied Palestinian territories.
In August 2020, the company tweeted at then home secretary Priti Patel, stating: “People wouldn’t make dangerous journeys if they had any other choice. The UK hasn’t resettled any refugees since March, but wars and violence continue. What we need is more safe and legal routes.”
James Cleverly, the new Foreign Secretary, wrote at the time: “Can I have a large scoop of statistically inaccurate virtue signalling with my grossly overpriced ice cream please”.
MPS are expecting a crackdown on migrants’ use of the Modern Slavery Act to avoid deportation by raising the threshold for evidence for claims. Greater use of detention in secure units is also being considered. Nearly 28,000 migrants have reached the UK this year.
The Home Office is reviewing accommodation and benefits packages for asylum seekers to counter what one MP described as the impression that the UK is a “land of milk and honey”.
“It is very different to come to one where you will be in secure accommodation and then processed offshore,” they said.