Andrew Marr: The migrant crisis isn't about number or politics - it's about people

8 March 2023, 18:23

Tonight with Andrew Marr
Tonight with Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC

By Emma Soteriou

The migrant crisis isn't about number or politics - it's about people, Andrew Marr has said.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Opening LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, the presenter reflected on Wednesday's PMQs, which focused on the government's controversial new migrant plan.

"Now there are some people to think this current row about immigration is all a confected bit of party-political point scoring. I don't agree," Andrew said.

"I think a lot of voters are worried by the spectacle of so many people on so many boats arriving outside no immigration channels.

"And although Suella Braverman, backed up by Rishi Sunak, was talking utter nonsense when she suggested that there are 100 million people just waiting to come here, there's no doubt that around the world, because of climate change and war and the rest of it very many people are on the move. This isn't going to go away.

"To be crystal clear, I don't think that anybody who expresses concern about immigration in the 21st century is therefore, by definition, a racist. I am trying to be fair.

"But I have to say, if you were cynical about this, Prime Minister's Questions today would only have confirmed it."

Watch Tonight with Andrew Marr exclusively on Global Player every Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 7pm

Andrew Marr outlines how refugees without papers are 'easy targets' falling victim to modern slavery

Andrew continued: "Yesterday, I explained why I don't think this new policy is going to work.

"Later I want to look at the politics: is it, nevertheless, the kind of thing that might help the Tories keep lots of seats at an election later this year, or next year?

"But before that let’s just remind ourselves that this is not really about numbers, or images, or political advantage. It's about people.

"I'd like to talk about modern slavery, very much part of the immigration problem."

You can also listen to the podcast Tonight with Andrew Marr only on Global Player.

He went on to say: "Modern slavery or people trafficking is all around us.

"In marijuana farms, and in bog standard farm-farms, in nail bars and car washes, brothels, cleaners in private houses, there are people across Britain, as around the wider world, controlled by criminal gangs who make them work, take their money and keep them scared.

"Refugees without papers are of course easy targets for such people. In 2015 Theresa May passed a law against modern slavery.

"One of its results was that some people have come here illegally but claimed asylum by saying that they’re victims of people traffickers.

"Suella Braverman has claimed migrants are gaming the system by using the modern slavery law.

"If so, not many: official figures show that only 7% of the 83,000 people who crossed the channel on small boats were assessed as possible victims - and in most cases their claims were found reasonable.

"But the proposed new law from Sunak and Braverman overrides the possibility of claiming you’ve been trafficked - it would no longer be something, true or false, which would allow you to stay here.

"And because, as Stephen Flynn's example showed, there are migrants who have been kept as modern slaves, we must keep them, always in our mind’s eye."