Allegedly Labour MP Kate Hoey, who represents the unfortunate residents in the London constituency of Vauxhall, has previously passed before my inspection when she allowed her name to be placed on the by-line of a Sun article making a number of highly creative claims about Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act, part of that paper’s attempts to have the press regulation status quo preserved.
But now Ms Hoey is back in the news, if only in social media circles, for all the wrong reasons, after an ill-advised excursion on to Twitter, the true purpose of which will remain known only to Herself. The subject, as so often with those who have campaigned so ardently for Britain to leave the EU, is that of refugees, and in particular those millions who have fled the conflict in Syria, leaving homes and livelihoods behind.
As observers of the run-up to the EU referendum will know only too well, the Vote Leave campaign put out a leaflet - delivered to all households in the country - telling how Turkey, with its overwhelmingly Muslim population, was going to join the EU, and helpfully putting both Syria and Iraq on their map, just so that wavering voters had it in their mind that all those warring Syrians and Iraqis were on their way here too.
Now Ms Hoey takes to Twitter to innocently ask “Must find out exactly how many Syrian refugees have been taken in by other Muslim countries particularly in the Arab world”. Why she should have to even ask the question when the answer can be found by use of the mystical art known as “Five Minutes’ Googling”, and an article with appropriate citations is available on Wikipedia, is something that can only be guessed at.
Had Ms Hoey checked the Wiki article, she would have seen that Turkey (for all its faults in the field of human rights) has taken more than 2.7 million Syrian refugees, Lebanon an estimated 1.5 million, Jordan 1.3 million, Saudi Arabia an estimated 500,000, the UAE 242,000, Kuwait 155,000, and Egypt anywhere between 120,000 and 500,000. That makes around SEVEN MILLION refugees. And how many has Britain taken?
The United Kingdom has resettled just over 5,000. That compares with around 600,000 in Germany, 110,000 in Sweden, 39,000 in Austria, 32,000 in the Netherlands, 19,000 in Denmark, 17,000 in Belgium, 14,000 in Norway, 13,000 in Switzerland, and 12,000 in France. All of which adds up to a pretty shameful record for a country that claims to be welcoming, liberal, and tolerant. Hello Kate Hoey.
Ms Hoey has experienced considerable and severe adverse comment as a result of her Twitter intervention. Some have accused her merely of laziness; others have suggested the implication of her question was to infer - wrongly - that the Arab world was not playing its part in resettling refugees. There have been accusations of dog-whistling on her part.
The reality is most likely a combination of all three, and the conclusion is inescapable - Kate Hoey should be ashamed of herself. But not half as ashamed as many thousands of Labour Party member are of her being one of their MPs.