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Wrexham MP under fire following ‘economic migrants’ tweet

18 Aug 2020 2 minute read
Sarah Atherton MP. Photo by David Woolfall, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported

Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton has come under fire after tweeting a statement headed “The unacceptable boat crossings at Dover must stop now” on Tuesday afternoon.

After winning the seat in last year’s general election, she became the first Tory to represent the constituency since its creation in 1918.

The statement she tweeted was criticised for describing human rights lawyers as “unaccountable” and not having “our country’s best interests at heart” and for apparently not knowing the differences between the asylum system and the visa system and understanding the international law on asylum seekers.

Twitter user Dan Sohege, an international refugee law specialist, also pointed out: “An asylum seekers is entitled to seek asylum, without penalties as to manner of entry, specifically due to the circumstances necessitating their flight from persecution. This is a matter of international rather than domestic law, not EU specifically as alluded to later on.”

The statement Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton posted on Twitter

In a thread critiquing the statement he added: “From start to finish this letter from @AthertonNWales is full of inaccuracies and misconceptions. I would suggest that in the genuine interests of the country it would be best for a serving MP to learn at least a basic level about the laws governing it before spouting tripe.“

Alun Davies, MS for Blaenau Gwent, retweeted the response from Mr Sohege and commented, the statement “demonstrates clearly shocking levels of ignorance for an MP.

Another Twitter account under the name “The Secret Barrister” boasting almost 400,000 followers on the platform, said the statement was “remarkably stupid”

“Yes, lawyers are not accountable to the govt,” he added. “We are independent and accountable to our regulators. Yes, our duty is to our client. Not to pleasing stupid letter-writing MPs.”

Several other Twitter users complained that the MP, who was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart in February, had turned off replies to her tweet.

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