David Lammy calls for British compassion for refugees and migrants

8 August 2020, 11:03 | Updated: 11 September 2020, 11:30

David Lammy insists UK needs better strategy for dealing with migrants

By Seán Hickey

David Lammy insisted that the UK's current system of dealing with migrants isn't working, and people must look at the numbers before condemning migrants crossing the Channel.

David Lammy was speaking about the "terrible situation," in the English Channel following reports that over 200 people were caught by UK border forces on the 6th August.

He began the argument by asking listeners to put themselves in the shoes of the migrants. He called on listeners to "gather up your children in a small dinghy with some paddles and take your life and their life in your hands and make your way across the water from Calais across to Kent.

"What must that feel like?"

Referencing Home Secretary Priti Patel's plans to bring in the Royal Navy to deal with the problem, David Lammy dismissed the idea, noting that the notion has been thrown about time and time again when addressing the migrant crisis.

"Every summer people make it across the water and we keep getting calls to send them back without asking the fundamental question, 'is it working?'"

David Lammy pleaded for people to be compassionate towards asylum seekers and refugees
David Lammy pleaded for people to be compassionate towards asylum seekers and refugees. Picture: PA

David went further to scoff at the argument often put forward that the UK takes in all migrants. "Britain doesn't accommodate all of them," he said.

"18 million displaced people across the world are largely in their neighbouring country," making the case that 2 million refugees from Syria have been displaced to Lebanon, which had a 4 million population before the Syrian Civil War.

"This was the country of the kinder transport. This was the country that took in Ugandan Asians when Idi Amin was being so horrendous to them and driving them out," David said, and attacked people who said we don't have a duty to protect asylum seekers fleeing war and famine.

David called for a revolution in the way we approach the refugee crisis. He wondered "how can we process these people in a civilised way so they don't have to risk their lives."