Starmer and Sunak both push anti-refugee narratives

  • Post last modified:May 8, 2024
  • Reading time:4 mins read

At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer kept the rhetoric on refugees harsh in a game of scapegoat.

Starmer: gloating over Elphicke

Starmer accused Sunak of adopting an “amnesty” for refugees.

Yet the 1951 UN convention on refugees states its an international obligation to provide asylum for refugees.

Sunak responded:

When it comes to border control, there is a crucial difference between us – we want secure borders

Moreover, Starmer gloated about Tory MP Natalie Elphicke defecting to Labour. He sneered at Sunak that “one week a Tory MP who’s also a doctor [Dan Poulter] says the prime minister can’t be trusted with the NHS and joins Labour”. Starmer then noted:

And the next week the Tory MP for Dover on the front line of the small boats crisis says the prime minister cannot be trusted with our borders and joins Labour. What is the point of this failed government staggering on?

However, Elphicke’s record speaks for itself. As SKWAWKBOX noted, she has a record of anti-refugee sentiment as the MP for Dover.

PMQs: both leaders out of step

According to an Ipsos 2023 poll, 56% of British people believe refugees make a “positive contribution” to the country.

And 84% agreed with the statement that “people should be able to take refuge in other countries, to escape from war or persecution”.

Indeed, 102,807 Ukrainian people were granted refugee status in the UK in the year 2022-23.

Yet in April 2024, five people including a child died trying to make the crossing to the UK.

So – like with respect to the Ukraine war – the UK could provide safe and legal routes, as well as in cooperation with other countries, to uphold its duty to refugees.

Punching down

Instead of the PMQs rhetoric on asylum seekers, Starmer – as Labour leader – could be focusing on issues of capitalism that have a huge impact.

For instance, the government treats housing as an asset that people should rent or profit from- rather than what’s primarily an essential one should own for cost-price.

Instead, social and private landlords are simply leeching profits from tenants.

Such scams and the demonisation of refugees must end.

Featured image via Sky News – YouTube

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