Labour MP David Lammy made an impassioned plea to listeners, on LBC radio, to have more sympathy with migrants trying to cross the Channel.
He wanted people to take a moment to contemplate those who are “getting in dinghies and make-shift boats and crossing the English Channel. Many of them dying on the way”.
The Tottenham MP said that “what we are doing is not working” and demanded the government started to work in a “civilised” way to help those people desperately trying to cross the Channel.
Most of them wanting to work
Lammy urged listeners to see the significant difference between those seeking economic immigration and asylum seekers and refugees, with “most of them wanting to work” if they make it to the British mainland.
“Britain doesn’t accommodate all of them,” Lammy said. He then revealed statistics showing in 2015 Germany took 1.1 million asylum seekers compared to 32,733 in the UK.
“80 million displaced people across the world are largely in their neighbouring country,” he said.
Lammy added: “Every summer people make it across the water and we keep getting calls to send them back without asking the fundamental question, ‘is it working?’”
On Tuesday, Labour former minister and committee member Chris Bryant told The Independent the influx of crossings “wasn’t only predictable, but we predicted it”, and measures previously described as clampdowns had been “notoriously ineffective”.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of using inflammatory language after calling migrant boat crossings a “very bad and stupid and dangerous and criminal thing to do”.
He also hinted at changing laws to tackle the problem, while Downing Street said Brexit would help as it would end the “inflexible and rigid” requirements on how asylum applications are examined and considered.
But critics have questioned whether this claim is accurate, arguing that EU laws currently in place do already allow the UK to deport migrants.