James Cleverly, the UK’s newly appointed Home Secretary, has been urged to “focus on protecting” LGBTQIA+ people fleeing persecution abroad.

Taking on the role from Suella Braverman, who was sacked earlier today, Cleverly will oversee law enforcement, national security and immigration.

Braverman had previously implemented a number of controversial policies on the latter, while also making an array of public comments that were met with condemnation from LGBTQIA+ rights campaigners and organisations.

These included her fierce support of Priti Patel’s controversial plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda, which she said was her “dream” to see happen, as well as her suggestion that being gay and/or a woman is not reason enough to claim asylum in the UK.

“With a new Home Secretary comes an opportunity for a shift in course”

Leila Zadeh, Executive Director of Rainbow Migration, a charity that provides practical and emotional support for LGBTQIA+ people seeking asylum, told GAY TIMES that Braverman’s “policies and legislation have put the lives of LGBTQI+ people seeking safety here at even greater risk.”

“With a new Home Secretary comes an opportunity for a shift in course,” she continued.

“We ask James Cleverly to scrap his predecessors’ cruel plans to send people arriving to the UK to Rwanda, as if the plan is ruled lawful by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, it could mean that LGBTQI+ people seeking protection here are sent to a far-away country that is dangerous for them and where they don’t have any connections or support.

“Instead of punishing people for taking dangerous journeys, the new Home Secretary should focus on protecting LGBTQI+ people that are seeking to rebuild their lives in safety here and treat them with kindness while they wait for a decision on their asylum claims.”

Braverman’s sacking comes as part of a wider cabinet reshuffle that will likely be the government in place during the next general election, which is expected to take place within the next 12 months.

In addition to Cleverly being made the new Home Secretary, former Prime Minister David Cameron has taken on the role of Foreign Secretary, while Victoria Atkins will serve as the Health Secretary.

Elsewhere, Steve Barclay will be the new Environment Secretary, Laura Trott the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Richard Holden the new Conservative Party chairman.