Tim Loughton MP
Here’s what he said. “People who are coming across the Channel in dinghies, many of them, most of them paying money to people traffickers, illegal people traffickers, big crime, are effectively queue jumping and stealing places from those genuine refugees who are playing by the rules, who could apply, in the first port that they reach, or from the refugee camps in places like Jordan. And our policy in this country has been to concentrate on those genuine refugees, some of the most vulnerable people”.
There is only one problem with his “queue jumping” assertion: there is no queue. And the only place you can claim asylum in the UK is, er, the UK. This matters, because it is the responsibility of Government MPs like Loughton not to spread misinformation. It’s not as if we don’t know where that leads, or that we’ve already been warned about it.
Back in 2015, “In the lead up to Refugee Week, Australian Red Cross surveyed people across the country to discover just what they do and don’t know”, The Guardian reported. “It’s not a crime to come to Australia by boat without a visa and ask for protection … But we found seven out of 10 people believe it is”. Also, “There’s no official queue for people coming to Australia seeking a safe place to live. But six out of 10 people think there is”.
That article went on to explain “The United Nations process of resettling refugees in other safe countries doesn’t operate like a queue. It’s not a matter of lining up, waiting for your number to come up … The resettlement system operates as a discretionary process, based on changing criteria”. And there was a reminder of this in the UK only last year.
As so often, that reminder had to come from a BAME person: on Sky News’ The Pledge, journalist and pundit Afua Hirsch reminded her fellow panellists “There is no route for low-skilled migrants from places like Vietnam to lawfully come to a country like the UK to work. So it’s not like they’re jumping the queue. There is no queue … We need a system that does allow people … they’re doing jobs in our economy, they’re not coming to live on benefits, they’re working”. Loughton is putting forward a false premise.
Also, by denying those migrants a safe and legal route to the UK, a black economy market has sprung up, as with so many other illegal things - like drugs.
If the Tories have no proposals to address this issue, it would help immensely if they admit the fact, rather than constantly peddling misinformation. I’ll just leave that one there.
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