Labour ridiculed by Priti Patel during tense migrant clash ‘Totally divorced from reality’

Priti Patel ridicules Labour for giving aid to France

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The Home Secretary has faced down the Labour Party frontbench over the Government’s handling of migrants crossing the English Channel illegally. Priti Patel mocked Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds during a fierce clash in Parliament on Monday. Ms Patel branded the opposition’s position on the migrant crisis as “totally divorced from reality” before mocking Mr Thomas-Symonds over attempts to link the crisis to the UK’s shrinking aid budget. 

Ms Patel told the House of Commons: “The only solution is wholesale reform of our asylum system.

“Labour have consistently voted against the plan to do so.

“Instead of making suggestions that are practical, they are totally divorced from the reality.

“They don’t have a viable plan.”

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She added: “The Right Honourable gentleman constantly says that I should deepen my cooperation with France, while also criticising this side of the house for giving money to France to patrol their beaches.

“He suggested the problem is down to reduce aid, failings to note that France, Mr Speaker, is not a recipient of UK aid.”

The slapdown sparked laughter from the Conservative Party benches.

The Home Secretary continued: The party opposite continues to defend the rights of foreign national offenders, including murderers, rapists and those involved in the drugs trade.”

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Ms Patel accused went to blame Labour for always standing up for “unlimited migration.”

The Home Secretary invited shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds to give ideas for how to tackle the crisis after she outlined measures in the Nationality and Borders Bill designed to address the problem.

Ms Patel said: “If any members have concrete proposals that are not already featured in the new plan for immigration, I would be happy to discuss and meet with them because my door is always open, particularly to those members on the opposite benches.

“Because of course they attack the new plan for immigration, they have not supported it, they voted against it and not because they are genuinely frustrated at the number of illegal migrants entering our country like those on this side of the House and the British public, but because they will always stand up for unlimited migration, free movement and they always said that and will do.”

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In turn, Mr Thomas-Symonds accused the Home Secretary of “empty rhetoric and broken promises.”

The Shadow Home Secretary said: “As the Home Secretary knows, the Government has already spent over £200 million of taxpayers’ money on deals with the French authorities that are not working.

“The situation is getting worse. So will the Government commit to transparency as to how the money is spent?”

He added: “The Home Secretary has repeatedly made pledges that the route across the Channel will be made unviable, but as usual with this Government it is all empty rhetoric and broken promises.”

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