Tory calls refugees 'economic migrants' who want UK 'to pull down statues and rewrite history'

Tory claims refugees want 'to pull down UK's statues and rewrite history'

A former Tory MP has claimed Ukrainian refugees are "different" from other refugees who he made some rather odd claims about.

Speaking about the government's controversial deal with Rwanda which will see some illegal immigrants offshored to Rwanda to apply for asylum there, Sir Gerald Howarth said Ukrainian refugees don't "come here and tell us to pull down our statues and rewrite our history" unlike, supposedly, other refugees, who are mostly "economic migrants" in his view.

In an interview with LBC he defended the plan, saying: "It is already costing us an absolute fortune to house these people in this country as they come across the channel so you have to offset the cost of that against the cost of going to Rwanda"

"We have genuine asylum seekers from Ukraine who we are housing and our friends are housing and its fantastic," he continued.

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"But there is a fundamental difference between the Ukrainian refugees and the others. Ukrainian refugees first and foremost are fully intent on returning to rebuild their country and secondly they don't come here and tell us to pull down our statues and rewrite our history."

Host Matt Frei challenged him but Howarth was not for turning. He added that Britain "cannot sustain" the number of immigrants coming into the UK and when Frei asked why it could then take Ukrainian refugees if it is so full he added that Ukrainians "are not economic migrants as most of those coming from other countries are."

Campaigners will take the case to the Court of Appeal on Monday after the High Court said flights to Rwanda can go ahead.

In his decision, the judge Mr Justice Swift accepted there was a "material public interest" in Home Secretary Priti Patel being able to carry out her policies.

Patel praised his judgement and said the government would go ahead with its plans, while prime minister Boris Johnson described the ruling as "welcome news".

However, campaigners who brought the case expressed concern for the welfare of people set to be "forcibly deported".

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