Hunt brushes off Tory MP’s idea of sending asylum seekers to Orkney
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has brushed off the suggestion from a Conservative Party deputy chairman that asylum seekers could be held on Orkney if the Rwanda plan fails.
Lee Anderson – who has become known for controversial statements in the past – told GB News this week that those who have fled their countries and come to the UK could be held on a remote Scottish island until their applications are processed.
His comments came after the Supreme Court ruled the current plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful.
Asked about the remarks, Mr Hunt told Sky News on Thursday: “Lee will always have colourful suggestions, as he always does actually in British politics.
“But the fact of the matter is we will do what it takes to stop the boats, and I think we’ve had that clarity from Rishi Sunak.”
Mr Anderson had said: “I know it’s a bit parky up there this time of year. But if people are genuinely escaping war or persecution then a nice Scottish island with a few outbuildings would be suitable.
“This is a beautiful country. Parts of Scotland are a ‘go to’ destination, the remote islands – I’d like to be able to afford a place up there.
“If we can get some accommodation up there, keep these people safe – these people want to be safe, they’re fleeing so-called persecution from these war-torn countries.
“If we can find an island in the Orkneys or up there that’s got no-one on there to start off with, put some decent accommodation on, then it’s job done.”
The comments drew criticism from Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael, who said the idea is “not a serious proposition”.
The Liberal Democrat MP said: “I would be astonished if Lee Anderson could even find Orkney – or in his words ‘the Orkneys’ – on a map.
“His remarks show inhumanity towards desperate and vulnerable people – and disdain towards island communities to boot.
“Anderson has form for brainstorming Tory policy live on air. Obviously, this is a novel sort of brainstorming as it does not actually involve the engagement of a brain, but instead looks more like an exercise in corralling as many prejudices as possible into one space and calling it a policy.”
He said the comments are an attempt to “kick up dust and distract attention from the complete failure of this Government to manage our asylum and immigration system”.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.