British Home Secretary Suella Braverman on Tuesday faced widespread criticism for describing the arrival of asylum seekers in the United Kingdom as an invasion.

On Monday, Braverman had told the British Parliament that illegal migration in the country was out of control and described the country’s asylum system as broken.

“Some 40,000 people have arrived on the south coast this year alone,” Braverman had said, according to The Guardian. “Many of them facilitated by criminal gangs, some of them actual members of criminal gangs. So let’s stop pretending that they are all refugees in distress. The whole country knows that is not true.”

According to the BBC, almost 40,000 persons have crossed the English Channel in small boats in 2022 so far. Out of these, 93% applied for government protection.

On Tuesday, the Opposition Labour Party said that the remarks by Braverman were highly inflammatory.

“No home secretary serious about public safety or national security would use the language Suella Braverman did the day after a petrol bomb attack on a Dover centre,” Labour Party leader Yvette Cooper wrote on Twitter.

She was referring to a petrol bomb attack on an immigration centre in England’s Dover on Sunday.

Besides the Opposition, leaders in Braverman’s own Conservative Party denounced the home secretary’s comments.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick told Sky News that he would never demonise people coming to the United Kingdom to seek a better life. “In a job like mine, you have to choose your words very carefully,” he added.

He, however, defended Braverman’s use of the word “invasion” saying it had been used to show the scale of the challenge of asylum seekers in the country.

Conservative MP Roger Gale said that such “inflammatory language” was unacceptable.

“It might well incite an unpleasant element in British society to violence,” Gale told the BBC.

Meanwhile, the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the United Kingdom would always be a compassionate and welcoming country.

“The home secretary was seeking to express the sheer scale of the challenge that faces the country, with people, including a significant proportion of economic migrants, seeking to make this journey,” an official spokesperson of the prime minister said.

Braverman had been reinstated as home secretary on October 25 after resigning from the administration of former prime minister Liz Truss. She had admitted to having mistakenly sent a sensitive official document from her personal email ID to a fellow MP.