If illegal migrants aren’t content with the conditions on Britain’s new migrant barges, they can “f**k off back to France,” the deputy chairman of the U.K.’s governing Conservative party has claimed.
Lee Anderson, the Conservative MP for Ashfield, made the incendiary remark to the Express newspaper, in which he added: “I think people have just had enough.
“These people come across the Channel in small boats, if they don’t like the conditions they are housed in here then they should go back to France, or better, not come at all in the first place.”
Anderson, who has been a deputy chairman of the governing party since February 2023, was commenting on the ongoing migration crisis on England’s southern border, which resulted in a record 45,755 migrant crossings last year, the majority of whom subsequently claim asylum.
His blunt remark was defended by Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, who admitted that Anderson’s language was “salty” but his point “not unreasonable.”
“Lee Anderson expresses the righteous indignation of the British people. He does it in salty terms and that’s his style, but his indignation is well placed,” Chalk told Nick Ferrari on LBC.
“People coming from a safe country… They should claim asylum in the first country (in which they arrive). It shouldn’t be an open shopping list of where you want to go,” he added.
On Anderson’s remarks, the justice secretary said his Conservative colleague “expresses himself in his characteristically robust terms, but there is a lot of sense, in my respectful view, in what he says.”
The Conservative government has been attempting to reduce a considerable backlog to the asylum process and relocate asylum seekers currently residing in hotels, at a cost of around £6 million per day to the British taxpayer, to more cost-effective accommodation including disused army bases and migrant barges.
One such barge has now docked on the tied island of Portland in the southern English county of Dorset, and the first asylum seekers embarked on the vessel on Monday.
They were greeted by a small group of pro-refugee demonstrators at the Portland dock, holding “Welcome” signs and handing out packs of toiletries.
Anderson also took aim at those in support of the migrants, questioning whether they would be “welcome” in their own homes, and calling them hypocrites for supporting the housing needs of illegal migrants but not of homeless Brits across the country.