David Cameron was branded ‘shameful’ and ‘callous’ today after he claimed that Jeremy Corbyn met a ‘bunch of migrants’ in Calais and invited them to come and live in Britain.
Junior Ministers immediately sprang to Mr. Cameron’s defense insisting he was making clear his opposition to handing migrants at Calais a ‘free pass’.
The Prime Minister was referring to Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to see thousands of refugees living in foul conditions in the camps in the north of France at the weekend.
Mr. Cameron’s comments instantly drew fire on Twitter and former shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper raised a point of order calling on the Prime Minister to withdraw his comments.
Mr. Cameron made the comments about the refugees, many of whom are fleeing civil war and the brutality of Islamic State in Syria, on Holocaust Memorial Day.
A Sky News snap poll of 1,070 people found that 47% of people supported taking in unaccompanied refugees, while 53% opposed the idea.
Lisa Doyle, the Refugee Council’s head of advocacy said when they are facing the greatest refugee crisis of our time; it is disappointing the Prime Minister is using flippant remarks to score political points.
When asked if it was wrong for the Prime Minister to use the negative term, ‘a bunch of migrants’, he said He very strongly disagrees with the approach Labour wants at Calais and that’s to open the doors and let people into Britain because he believes it will make the situation worse and bring even more people to Calais.
He rejected the suggestion he was immature about the implications of dramatically increasing the number of refugees it takes in.
He spoke to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week and the pair agreed there was more to be done before a deal could be reached.
Britain was on Wednesday criticized by the European Committee of Social Rights for failing to comply with obligations under the 55-year-old European Social Charter because of the UK’s treatment of migrant workers.
Mr Cameron has recently announced migrant women who do not learn English to a required level within two and a half years will be removed from the country.
Ms Cooper, who is chairing Labor’s refugee task force, suggested the PM should use “much more statesmanship-like” language on such a “complex and sensitive” issue, particularly given ongoing commemorations of Holocaust victims.
Speaking outside the chamber, a senior Labour source said that “The people we saw at Calais and Dunkirk over the weekend were families, kids, babies… to consider those people we saw as a ‘bunch of migrants’ demonstrates an attitude that is entirely unacceptable to a humanitarian crisis on our doorstep.”