Mon, 7 November 2022 at 5:50 pm
A Tory MP has said the migrant crisis is the fault of politicians who should “grow a backbone” and send people he branded illegal immigrants “straight back on the same day”.
Lee Anderson is the Conservative MP for the Ashfield constituency in Nottinghamshire.
During a debate on the migrant crisis on Monday he told the house of Commons: “When I hear words like sourcing housing and getting hotel spaces for illegal immigrants it leaves a bitter taste in my throat.”
He went on to say “we’re here debating this nonsense once again” and that Parliament should no longer blame “lefty lawyers” for allowing migrants to remain in Britain.
“The blame lies in this place right now,” he said. “When are we going to do the right thing, grow a backbone, and send them straight back the same day?”
Anderson was one of many predominantly Conservative MPs who want to take a hardline on migrants on the day Downing Street said talks on a deal with France were in their “final stages”, following a meeting between Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron.
Conservative MP Andy Carter said that a hotel in his Warrington South constituency would become an asylum centre the following day, complaining that no talks were held with the council and that it was unacceptable they would be housed “in the middle of a residential area, less than 200 yards from a primary school”.
Conservative Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) said the “easier you make this whole process and the quicker, the more people will come”.
He added: “There were recent reports that illegal migrants had been put up in a luxury rural hotel, a former stately home near Grantham which normally charges £400 a night. Surely the easier you make this whole process and the quicker, the more people will come, especially as this is a complete pushover with a large number of young Albanian men claiming modern slavery, which is ridiculous.
And Conservative Scott Benton (Blackpool South) said his constituents were “becoming sick and tired of this ridiculous narrative of economic migrants somehow being mistreated at Manston”.
Home Office minister Robert Jenrick replied to Anderson’s comments: “In sourcing accommodation for migrants, we should be guided by both our common desire for decency because those are our values, but also hard-headed common sense. And it is not right that migrants are put up in three or four-star hotels at exorbitant cost to the United Kingdom taxpayer.”
Anderson’s comments have been pointed out as inaccurate by people working with migrants.
Rachel Youngman, chair of charity Hibiscus which supports migrant women, has slammed the comments as “misleading and inaccurate”.
She told Yahoo News UK that generalising about people seeking refuge in the UK was “a gross oversimplification of people who arrive in Dover seeking asylum”.
“They are not illegal migrants because they’re right to seek asylum or return to their home country has not yet been determined,” she said.
“That is entirely dependent on the system not the individual.
“If people keep using this as an opportunity for soundbites that have no basis, it misleads on what does need to happen.”
Home secretary Suella Braverman has come under mounting pressure over her handling of the the migrant crisis including the illegal conditions at the scandal-hit and overcrowded Manston processing centre near Ramsgate.
At one point, as many as 4,000 people were being detained for weeks in a site intended to hold 1,600 for a matter of days.