A man who voted to leave the European Union said people voted Brexit to keep immigration down, in response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis.
Writing to the BBC, the man, who was only identified as James, told the broadcaster to read an email “from those of us who are unhappy about more immigration”.
He wrote: “We voted Brexit to keep it down. Since then, we’ve had Hong Kong, Afghanistan, and now Ukraine.
“They won’t be returning, why would they? We’ll be joined by the men here and resettled here in the homes we were building for those already here.”
WATCH and Reactions
Many people have shared their thoughts upon hearing James’ thoughts, with one Twitter user saying: “Ukrainians literally dying for their country but this berk thinks they want to live in the UK.”
“Hong Kong, Afghanistan and Ukraine, those three well-known members of the EU,” another Twitter user said, while a third added: “This is particularly delicious as none of the three countries he mentions us helping have anything to do with Brexit or the EU. He seems to think Brexit should have stopped us helping the citizens of Hong Kong and Afghanistan. Quite quite mad.”
It comes as French president Emmanuel Macron criticised the UK government for failing to match its “grand statements” on Ukrainian refugees with action.
He said: “Despite all the grand statements… the British government continued to apply current rules that meant they did not welcome Ukrainian refugees who wanted to reach British soil saying they have to travel hundreds of kilometres in order to apply for a visa.
“I would hope that the Ukrainian men and women who have lived through horror and crossed Europe to reach their families on UK territory will be better treated.”
In response to Macron’s comments, the Home Office pointed to previous comments from Home Secretary Priti Patel, which stated: “We are now making the process quicker and simpler by removing the need to physically visit visa application centres for many of those who are making the perilous journey across Europe.”
UK response vs rest of Europe
Over two million refugees fled Ukraine, and most of them went to neighbouring countries: Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia.
BBC presenter Ros Atkins pointed out some are travelling to Western Europe – albeit much fewer – and that the EU is now allowing Ukrainians to stay in the bloc for three years, after extending their 90-day visa-free rights in the light of the war.
Meanwhile, LBC’s James O’Brien criticised the government’s response to the refugee crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, pointing out what the UK is doing compared to its neighbours, Ireland and other European countries.