Posted on August 9, 2023

Lee Anderson Tells Moaning Migrants to ‘F— Off Back to France’

Amy Gibbons et al., The Telegraph, August 8, 2023

Lee Anderson has said migrants complaining about the Bibby Stockholm barge should “f— off back to France”.

The MP for Ashfield and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party said those unhappy with the conditions in Britain should leave or “better not come at all in the first place”, amid a Government stand-off with 20 asylum seekers refusing to move to the vessel.

‌His “salty” comments were defended by Alex Chalk, the Justice Secretary, who said his “indignation” was “well placed” after just 15 migrants boarded the barge on Monday.

‌By Tuesday, more than 20 were on board but a further 20 were continuing to resist transferring to the vessel in Portland, near Weymouth, Dorset – despite a threat by ministers to withdraw their right to state-funded accommodation.

‌The Home Office gave them a 24-hour deadline from Monday afternoon, after which it said it would consider withdrawing their accommodation support.

However, lawyers for the migrants claim the Home Office failed to give them sufficient notice and take account of their views.

‌Care4Calais, the charity supporting them, is considering legal action to block the use of the barge for asylum seekers, as it says the Home Office failed to carry out adequate checks on their suitability.

They include a man suffering sight loss, a torture victim and others with a “severe fear of water” from seeing people drown at sea.

‌Lashing out at those complaining about the accommodation, Mr Anderson told the Daily Express: “If they don’t like barges then they should f— off back to France.”

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.”

‌He later doubled down on his comments, responding to a critical tweet from MP Diane Abbott by implying that the people he was talking about were “not genuine asylum seekers”.

‌Ministers say the barge accommodation is “basic” and “spartan” but reasonable.

On Tuesday, one of the asylum seekers, a 32-year-old from Algeria, said: “It’s normal. It’s good. Bed was good. Food was good. It’s normal.”

‌Migrants on board disclosed that the menu included eggs, cheese and bread for breakfast; potato soup, garlic chicken, Irish stew and roast turkey for lunch; and dinner choices of paella, fried fish and oriental chicken.

A group of local volunteers, known as the Portland Global Friendship Alliance, are due to be allowed onto the barge to discuss with the migrants what activities and support they want.

‌They are offering a “befriending” service with locals, walks, cricket, football, sea fishing, extra English lessons and work on allotments.

‌They have already provided “goodie” bags with toiletries, pen and paper, as well as clothes and a donated bike for one asylum seeker, whose previous cycle was stolen in Bournemouth.

‌It came as Mr Chalk told lawyers to “keep their politics to themselves” in the latest attempt by ministers to pin part of the blame for the crisis in the asylum system on “Lefty lawyers”.

‌“In the last 10 years there’s been a growing and I think regrettable trend for lawyers to actively parade their politics and identify more with their clients,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

‌He said it would be “much better for lawyers in the main to keep their politics to themselves” and said it was a mistake for them to be “enthusiastic about parading their political opposition”.