A Conservative MP has provoked outrage after suggesting the UK should only accept the “right sort” of migrants.
Speaking in the Commons Liaison Committee, Sir Bill Wiggin berated Boris Johnson over delays to granting visa-free access to countries such as Qatar, saying: “Why can’t we get the right people through our immigration system, rather than the wrong ones?”
The senior Conservative, who previously declared a £2,740 trip to the Gulf state in 2020 in the Commons register, said the UK had promised to axe visa restrictions for the “very wealthy people” in Qatar.
He said the UK didn’t want people in “rubber boats”, referring to rising numbers of people making the perilous Channel crossing in dinghies.
More than 4,500 people have been brought to the UK since the start of the year, according to figures collated by the PA news agency.
Sir Bill urged the prime minister to look at the other “end of the spectrum,” telling him: “We have, on at least three occasions, promised the Qataris visa-free access.
“These are very wealthy people who are unlikely to stay. And yet, despite saying we do it three times, we still haven’t delivered.”
The North Herefordshire MP said he was worried the PM wasn’t delivering on his promises, adding: “The only people who are turning up are turning up in rubber boats.
“Why can’t we get the right people through our immigration system, rather than the wrong ones?”
Mr Johnson pressed him to clarify, to which the MP replied: “We want Ukrainians, we want Qataris, we don’t want people in rubber boats.”
Nationality and Borders Bill
The PM said the new Nationality and Borders Bill would help to end the “cruel trading in people across the Channel”. The controversial legislation is expected to penalise people seeking asylum in the UK.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael blasted Sir Bill for “playing Top Trumps” with people.
He told the Mirror: “It must be comforting to be a Conservative MP who thinks people can so easily be sorted into ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. But the real world is a bit more complicated than that.
“The truth is, the Conservatives have given us a broken immigration system that stops UK employers recruiting the people they need – no matter which country they come from. The Government’s two tier approach is wrong both practically and on principle.
“Instead of playing Top Trumps with people’s nationality, we need an immigration system that works for our economy and treats everyone with dignity and respect.”
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