Viewers on Newsnight slammed the ex-chief immigration officer for his “unspeakably gloomy image of the United Kingdom.”
BBC NEWSNIGHT viewers have denounced statements made on social media by the UK’s ex-chief immigration officer, who painted a “grim” picture of the country’s asylum system.
Following the terrible death of at least 27 migrants in the Channel, BBC Newsnight host Emily Maitlis, 51, delivered yesterday night’s episode from Dover, Kent. Tory Home Office Minister Tom Pursglove, 33, French MP Mireille Clapot, 58, CEO of the Refugee Council Enver Solomon, and former UK Border Force chief Kevin Saunders all made appearances on the broadcaster’s premier current affairs program.
During Mr Saunders’ contribution, the UK’s former chief immigration officer urged that the country should become more “unattractive” to prevent migrants from coming to the UK.
“My role was to follow Government policy, which is exactly what we did,” he explained.
“I disagree with Enver; I believe that going offshore is the only viable option.”
“The only way to make the UK less appealing is to make it less attractive.”
“First and foremost, the 1951 agreement is well out of date; it was written at a different time before we had this sort of mass migration,” Mr Saunders, who served as the chief immigration officer from 2001 to 2016, added.
On Twitter, the remarks sparked debate.
“Did I just hear that person on @BBCNewsnight suggest that the postwar procedures about asylum don’t work now because ‘they (the refugees) are different people?” wondered author Michael Rosen, 75. What did he mean by that? “Kevin Saunders let slip there that we want to end asylum in the UK!” Jane Thompson added. Is it a Freudian blunder? @maitlis (hashtag)newsnight (hashtag)AsylumIsAHumanRight I’m sick to my stomach.” “What an unspeakably awful view of Britain wrapped up in that line,” Tom Scott commented in reaction to making the UK more undesirable. Elvin Peel urged that the government instead focus on making the UK even more appealing.
“Great news, the United Kingdom is attracting asylum seekers – we urgently require hospital personnel, drivers, food operatives, and physicians – get them over here working now!”
Make it more appealing by including free boat tickets.”
Other people, on the other hand, questioned why the French weren’t doing more to prevent Channel crossings.
“Why don’t the French police station a patrol every half mile along the beach to avert this tragedy?” Mark Stratford wondered.
“Why isn’t the world denouncing France and the EU for not processing these ‘asylum’ seekers in a humanitarian manner?” Lee Edwards continued.
There. “Brinkwire News Summary.”