Tory Minister Told Migration Crackdown Is A 'Nastiness Olympics' On Question Time

Journalist Ash Sarkar has confronted Tory minister Helen Whately over the government’s controversial migration crackdown – accusing the administration of indulging in a “nastiness Olympics” to please the Daily Mail.

The accusation came on BBC’s Question Time, which this week came from Bexhill-on-Sea, and was prompted by the Archbishop of Canterbury condemning the government’s plans to tackle the small boats crisis as “morally unacceptable and politically impractical”.

The intervention by Justin Welby sparked criticism of the church leader at Westminster, who was told neither “handwringing or bell ringing” will solve the misery of the channel crossings.

Th immigration reforms aim to ensure those who arrive in the UK without permission will be detained and promptly removed, either to their home country or a third country such as Rwanda. Meanwhile, asylum seekers are being housed in barracks and barges.

On the show, Sarkar said proposed new laws were treating “people who have been raped, people who have been tortured, people who are fleeing persecution” as “criminals”.

The writer went on: “I object so strongly when you use these words like ‘generosity’, to talk about things like having a glorified prison ship or refurbishing a prison just around the corner from here in order to detain people who are fleeing some of the most unimaginable circumstances possible.

“No government does that because they think it’s morally good. No government does that because they think it’s particularly efficient or effective.

“You’re doing it because you’ve committed yourself to this nastiness Olympics because you want a pat on the back from the Daily Mail and the human cost of that is obscene.”

Whately had argued 500,000 migrants coming to the UK since 2015, and people opening their homes to Ukrainians, showed the UK is a “generous country on offering asylum” – but it was “morally wrong” not to crackdown on people smugglers fuelling the problem.

On the same question, broadcaster and clergyman Rev Richard Coles called the illegal migration bill “politically unworkable, legally doubtful and morally indefensible”, adding he supported Welby’s position.