"Britain wouldn't be Britain without refugees" - Gary Lineker in new video

3 September 2020, 22:28 | Updated: 4 September 2020, 13:33

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

"Britain wouldn't be Britain without refugees"- host of TV stars join forces with an international charity to mark National Fish and Chips day.

Today marks National Fish and Chips day and three British stars along with the International Rescue Committee have launched a new film explaining why we have refugees to thank for fish and chips.

Match of the Day presenter and ex-footballer Gary Lineker, comedian Jo Brand and actress, singer and refugee Yasmin Kadi have explored the origins of fried fish, and chips. A truly British dish.

Sitting in a cafe, with union bunting behind him, Lineker says that "Britain wouldn't be Britain without fish and chips, a national institution, a culinary delight".

The animated fish and chips then tell the TV host that they were brought over to the UK by refugees, who also combined the two.

Lineker states: "Britain wouldn't be Britain without refugees" and the video ends with a "refugees welcome" sign on the cafe door.

The ex-Leicester, Everton, Barcelona and Tottenham striker told the Daily Mirror he is "not at all" apprehensive about housing a refugee and has no idea who he will be living with or where they will be from.

"I have had so much connection with refugees over the last couple of years," he said.

"I have met scores of young -refugees through football schemes and they are genuinely lovely kids and they appreciate any help they can get."

The video comes as Mr Lineker 59, is waiting for his application to house a refugee to be approved.

"I have been thinking of doing something like that for a while," he told the reporters.

"My kids are all grown up so I've got plenty of room so if I can help on a temporary basis then I'm more than happy to do so. Why not?"

He has been in touch with charity Refugees At Home, according to the report, and will have an interview and a home visit from the organisation before his application is approved.

"Britain wouldn&squot;t be Britain without refugees" - Gary Lineker in new video
"Britain wouldn't be Britain without refugees" - Gary Lineker in new video. Picture: IRC

Fried fish was originally introduced by Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Portugal and Spain in the 16th century.

While the chip was first fried in France in the 17th century, and French Protestants, or Huguenots, fleeing religious persecution around the same time might have brought their taste for fried potato with them to the UK.

The combination of fish and chips was the idea of another immigrant, Joseph Malin, who opened the nation’s first fish and chip shop in the East End of London in the 1860s.

The IRC charity says the little-known history of fish and chips is just one example of the historic contribution that refugees have made to British society and comes at a crucial time.

David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, says: “When you delve into the history books, it becomes clear that refugees have played an important role in shaping British society. They are an asset not a threat. This is why we at the IRC are launching this campaign today: to spread the simple message that when we welcome refugees, they strengthen our communities at every level and sometimes in unexpected ways.”

Gary Lineker said: “Providing a new start to those who have fled their homes represents the best of Britain's values because we know refugees have always helped to keep our communities safe and make our society stronger.

"We've seen during the Covid crisis how refugees have been among those on the front lines of fighting the pandemic. That should come as no surprise. Refugees want to contribute to this country - and they always have in ways that many people may not appreciate. "

Jo Brand, comedian, said: “The unusual origins of fish and chips is a lesson for today. When we welcome refugees, they thrive: they make our communtities stronger and more dynamic.”

Click here to learn more about the IRC and to watch the video.