'Absolutely absurd': James O'Brien blasts Govt over past treatment of refugees

18 March 2022, 16:06

James O'Brien blasts Government over past treatment of refugees

By James Bickerton

James O'Brien has savaged the Government over its past record on refugees, arguing they faced widespread "demonisation" in Britain before the Ukraine crisis.

More than three million Ukrainians have fled their country since Russian troops invaded in February.

Across Britain, 122,000 people have offered to take in Ukrainian refugees as part of a Government sponsored scheme.

However, James O'Brien argued the UK hasn't always been so generous.

He said: "This country up until three weeks ago was one of the most ridiculous places on the planet for the demonisation of refugees.

READ MORE: Tragic square of 100 empty prams for the Ukrainian children 'mercilessly killed' by Putin's war

Anti-Putin protest seen in London after Russia invades Ukraine

"It's incredible to see some of these Tory MPs now coming out and talking about the 'long proud history' this country has. It has nothing of the sort."

In 2021 the UK received just 37,562 asylum applications, versus 122,015 for Germany and 93,475 for France.

James O'Brien drew particular attention to the treatment of Afghan refugees, following the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

He commented: "Claims we've done our bit with Afghans are absolutely absurd.

"They're still living in hotels. Hotels where you've quite likely to get some far-right activist turning up with a camera phone claiming they're being treated far too lavishly."

The UK evacuated around 17,000 people from Afghanistan between April and September 2021, many in desperate circumstances as the Taliban surrounded Kabul airport.

Of these an estimated 7,000 will be eligible for permanent UK resettlement, having worked with British forces, according to the Oxford University's Migration Observatory.

The Government also launched the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, which aims to take an additional 20,000 refugees over the next three years.

Ukrainian man resident in the UK takes supplies to Ukraine amid invasion

The number of refugees resettled in Britain fell dramatically in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, before making a partial recovery in 2021.

However, activists have described the scheme's implementation as sluggish, whilst thousands of Afghan refugees have yet to be rehoused from hotels.

James also said: "I'm working on the principle that there are a lot of people who are sincerely concerned about Ukrainian refugees who managed not to give a hoot about Syrian people fleeing war."

Around five million Syrians have fled their country since 2011, when the country descended into civil war.

Most have gone to neighbours like Turkey, or European countries such as Germany and Sweden.

READ MORE: Russian state-backed broadcaster RT's licence revoked in UK 'with immediate effect'

More James O'Brien

See more More James O'Brien

Sacked borders watchdog David Neal said the Home Office is 'dysfunctional' and needs reform.

'It goes to the very top': Sacked border watchdog slams Home Office and calls for reform after Cleverly row

Exclusive
Shahd Waleed is trying to leave Rafah with her parents and enter Egypt

'They want us to experience pain': Young woman trapped in Rafah with her parents tells of terror as Israel invasion looms

Sir Keir Starmer has defended comments he made about Margaret Thatcher earlier this month.

Starmer defends Thatcher comments as he says he ‘completely disagrees’ with former prime minister’s politics

A caller to James O’Brien’s programme has shared footage of the extraordinary destruction done to his newly purchased property just outside of Durham.

Property investor's shock at 'unexplainable level of damage' he discovered after buying new home

Exclusive
James Cleverly replaced Suella Braverman as home secretary on Monday

'I've spent more time with James Cleverly this week than with Suella Braverman in the last year', Sadiq Khan tells LBC

James O'Brien discusses Suella Braverman's 'destructionist' leadership style with a caller

'She's a destructionist': James O'Brien caller claims Suella Braverman governs like 'a five-year-old'

James O'Brien

'She definitely has something on him': Caller and James O'Brien debate why the PM hasn't sacked Suella Braverman yet

'A complete reset of the top' is needed says caller.

'We're being let down': There is a 'complete disconnection' between parliamentary and local Conservatives says caller

James O'Brien

'It's essential that people are able to protest peacefully against war', says James O'Brien

James O'Brien

Rishi Sunak 'almost physically moves away' from Suella Braverman in House of Commons debate, says James O'Brien

James O'Brien

'Suella Braverman succeeded - she's caused hate', claims caller after Home Secretary criticises pro-Palestine marches

'A fish rots from the head': James O'Brien caller reacts to claims of misogyny in Downing Street during Covid Inquiry

'A fish rots from the head': James O'Brien caller reacts to claims of misogyny in Downing Street during Covid Inquiry

'Ludicrous, bogus, nonsense': James O'Brien is astounded by Boris Johnson 'laughing at Italy' during the pandemic

'Ludicrous, bogus, nonsense': James O'Brien is astounded by Boris Johnson 'laughing at Italy' during the pandemic

James O'Brien on Dagestan

'It's a hatred as old as religion itself': James O'Brien analyses escalating anti-Semitism after Muslim crowd storms Dagestan airport

Carol Vorderman shocked about UK Poverty

'One million children are living in destitution': Carol Vorderman struggles to comprehend stark wealth inequality in the UK

Wes Streeting on dentistry

Wes Streeting invites the government to steal Labour's policy to solve 'dickensian' NHS dentist crisis

James O'Brien

'I think they're the loneliest voters in Britain', James O'Brien claims after Tories' double by-election defeat

JOB and caller Andy

Biden's visit to Israel is to show that the US stands 'unequivocally' with Israel says James O'Brien caller

JOB and Usman

Israel's current response will only 'strengthen' Hamas by rearing Gazans who seek revenge warns this James O'Brien caller

JOB on deaths in conflict

James O'Brien unpacks the 'controversial' feeling of being 'equally devastated' by Palestinian and Israeli deaths

JOB on starmer speech

Keir Starmer is using 'working class as the opposite of having a sense of entitlement', notes James O'Brien

JOB on HS2 promises

James O'Brien criticises Rishi Sunak's watering down of 'illustrative' Network North projects funded by HS2 cut

Sadiq Khan and James O'Brien

Sadiq Khan declares there is 'no place for anti-Semitism' in London as kosher restaurant in Golders Green attacked

James O'Brien on the challenge HS2 scrappage poses to Labour.

‘How much can Rishi Sunak knock down before Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister?, asks James O’Brien

James O'Brien

Rishi Sunak is like an 'incontinent cat': James O'Brien slams Tories ahead of PM's Party Conference speech

JoB and Jeremy Hunt

Navy veteran deeply hurt by Jeremy Hunt's plans to clamp down on benefit claimants

James O'Brien on Tory tactics in the upcoming election.

Tories desperately seeking wedge issues is the 'only way' they will retain power in 2024, says James O'Brien

James and caller Mervin on knife crime

'I'd prefer you to go to jail than die': James O'Brien is left aghast by this caller's father's stance on knife possession

James O'Brien

James O'Brien ridicules those prioritising Labour's private school VAT plans over the cost of living crisis

James O'Brien

'I mean this is a novel': James O'Brien hears why this caller blames Labour for HS2 problems

James O'Brien

James O'Brien takes aim at uninformed 'idiots' criticising Keir Starmer for not wanting to diverge from EU rules

JOB on Rishi Sunak Bins

Rishi 'seven-bin' Sunak is lifting bans that 'don't exist', asserts James O'Brien