GMB presenter Adil Ray faces backlash over tweet condemning Priti Patel people smuggling photo

Priti Patel attended the arrest of a suspected leader of a people-smuggling gang on Wednesday. (PA)
Priti Patel attended the arrest of a suspected leader of a people-smuggling gang on Wednesday. (PA)

Good Morning Britain presenter Adil Ray has been criticised of sharing a misleading post attacking Priti Patel for attending an arrest of the suspected leader of a people-smuggling gang to promote her "new plan for immigration".

The GMB presenter compared his upbringing with the home secretary's on Twitter on Thursday.

He pointed out how both his and Patel's parents were forced to leave Kenya and Uganda respectively and settled in the UK despite the difficulties of being granted permission to live in Britain.

He then said: "To think years later a daughter of that generation would pose for a photo opp like this."

Watch: 'Fairness' heart of new immigration plans

The image showed Patel looking at two police officers walking a man away from a house in handcuffs.

The image circulated across Twitter with many assuming the arrested person was just an illegal immigrant.

Conservative MPs quickly jumped to Patel's defence and criticised Ray's post.

They pointed out the man who was arrested was part of a suspected people-smuggling gang - someone who profited from the misery of desperate migrants.

Hexam MP Guy Opperman and Middlesborough South MP Simon Clarke accused Ray of being "misleading" and unfair.

Adil Ray defended his post after being criticised. (Twitter)
Adil Ray defended his post after being criticised. (Twitter)

James Cleverly said in a tweet alongside Ray's post: "People trafficking is evil. Traffickers prey on the most vulnerable people in the world and display an indifference to the safety of those whose trust they abuse. Bringing them to justice is the right and proper thing to do."

In follow-up posts Ray stood by his statement by pointing out Patel promoted her attendance of the arrests as part of her “new plan for immigration.”

Ray said: "A new plan should involve reopening legal routes for migrants and asylum seekers who travel here, which is their right. So they don’t become victims of ‘smugglers’. 

"The photo is designed to demonise migrants."

Home Secretary Priti Patel used her attendance at the arrest to promote her
Home Secretary Priti Patel used her attendance at the arrest to promote her "new plan for immigration." (PA)

He also pointed to recent comments by the Law Society saying Patel's immigration plans pose a "serious threat" to the rule of law.

The home secretary's plans would see refugees who arrive in Britain via unauthorised routes such as boats crossing the Channel denied an automatic right to asylum and instead regularly reassessed for removal to safe countries they passed through.

Former Chief Prosecutor Nazir Afzal also criticised Patel's visit.

Several Tory MPs criticised Adil Ray's post as misleading. (Twitter)
Several Tory MPs criticised Adil Ray's post as misleading. (Twitter)

He said: "Absolutely right that people traffickers are the lowest of the low & deserve arrest & prosecution I question whether these guys will argue they cannot now receive a fair trial given the presence of the Home Sec at the arrest & her comments implying guilt before they’ve been tried."

The raids on Wednesday led to the arrest of two suspected ringleaders in an alleged people-smuggling gang that used minicab and lorry drivers to move migrants in and out of the UK.

Another five people who are all licensed minicab drivers were also arrested for allegedly moving migrants to and from lorry drop-off or pick-up points.

Investigators also found a safe house in Mile End with bunk beds crammed into every room where 11 suspected migrants were found.

Patel, who was present at one of the raids, said people smugglers are “treating innocent lives as a commodity and lining their pockets while people are dying”.