Tory MP Lee Anderson has sparked anger with his comments. (Photo: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor via PA Media)
A Tory MP has said that placing migrants in temporary hotel accommodation “leaves a bitter taste in my throat” and called for them to be deported instead.
Lee Anderson also said asylum seekers arriving in the UK should be “sent back the same day”.
The Ashfield MP spoke out as the government continues to come under pressure over the situation at the Manston migrant processing centre in Kent.
At the peak of the crisis a week ago, around 4,000 people were held at the facility, which is designed to hold about 1,600.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick told the Commons that the situation had since improved, with numbers “back below 1,600” after more than 2,000 people were placed in temporary accommodation.
But Anderson said: “When I hear words like sourcing housing and getting extra hotel spaces for illegal immigrants, it leaves a bitter taste in my throat.
“And I’ll tell you what, I’ve got 5,000 people in Ashfield who want to secure council housing and they cannot get one. Yet, we’re here debating this nonsense once again. When are we going to stop blaming the French, the ECHR, the lefty lawyers?
“The blame lies in this place right now — when are we going to go back and do the right thing and send them straight back the same day?”
Lee Anderson(Tory MP) - "When I hear words like sourcing houses & getting extra hotel spaces for illegal immigrants, it leaves a bitter taste in my throat... when are we going to send them straight back the same day" pic.twitter.com/IlqbsRkt7t
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) November 7, 2022
Jenrick responded by telling Anderson that while the UK should be “guided by our common desire for decency” it was “not right that migrants are put up in three or four-star hotels at exorbitant cost to the United Kingdom taxpayer”.
He said Rishi Sunak would meet with the French president Emmanuel Macron to reach an agreement on how to stem the flow of small boat crossings in the Channel.
Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson, criticised Anderson’s remarks.
“We all want to stop these dangerous Channel crossings and defeat the criminal gangs who profit from them, but the Conservatives’ approach isn’t working and they blame everyone but themselves,” Carmichael told HuffPost UK.
“For years, Conservative MPs from Lee Anderson to the home secretary – and even the prime minister – have contributed nothing but alienating rhetoric and simplistic proposals that do nothing to solve the problem. This sort of unhelpful, expensive and callous nonsense has only made the problem worse.
“If Conservative MPs really want to deal with the asylum backlog and save taxpayers’ money, the need to focus on fixing the asylum system they have broken and processing claims for asylum more quickly.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.