David Cameron has described migrants attempting to cross the Channel to enter the UK as a "swarm" who would not be offered "safe haven", drawing pretty much universal condemnation for the dehumanising language.
The prime minister spoke from Vietnam as part of his tour of south-east Asia to say the authorities would ensure British tourists had a “safe and secure holiday”.
His remarks were criticised as insensitive following the death of a young Sudanese man during skirmishes at the Eurotunnel border on Tuesday night. Thousands of desperate people fleeing war and prosecution in their home countries are currently in Calais attempting to seek a better life in the UK.
Hundreds of migrants tried to enter the Channel Tunnel again overnight on Wednesday.
Twitter was quick to point out the nastier implications of Cameron's language:
The BBC quoted Labour's Harriet Harman as saying "he should remember he is talking about people and not insects" and called the use of "divisive" language a "worrying turn".
Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham was also quick to jump in and condem Cameron's choice of words as "disgraceful":
The UK Refugee Council said the prime minister's comments were "irresponsible":
This sort of rhetoric is extremely inflammatory and comes at a time when the Government should be focused on working with its European counterparts to respond calmly and compassionately to this dreadful humanitarian crisis.
Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative for International Migration accused British politicians of adopting a "xenophobic response" to the issue:
The first thing we have to do collectively is to deal with their conditions.
Instead of talking about sending Gurkhas or building fences, we should be thinking of the humanitarian crisis.
Green Party deputy leader Shahrar Ali urged:
People will be disgusted at Cameron's Calais comments and he should retract them immediately.
Even Ukip leader Nigel Farage said Cameron's remark was inappropriate, insisting on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday morning he would never use the word "swarm" (although he described migrants exactly the same way on Good Morning Britain earlier this year).
I'm not seeking to use language like that... The prime minister is trying to sound tough, whether he actually means it or not is a separate question.