Amidst the ongoing debate about asylum seekers being housed on barges, Tory MP Lee Anderson’s populist views have stirred controversy.

I n an interview for the Daily Express, the Tory MP and Conservative Party Deputy Chair, Lee Anderson, expressed his opinion on asylum seekers being housed in barges. In what can be described as despicable language, he said that if migrants are not satisfied with the conditions on board the barges, they should return to France or not come at all.

“If they don’t like barges, then they should fuck off back to France... 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.”

— Lee Anderson, MP & Conservatives Deputy Chair

Lee Anderson has a history of making contentious statements, including remarks about food bank usage. These past comments have contributed to his reputation for outspokenness. While his expression may be unorthodox, Anderson’s latest statements reflect a broader debate on immigration and asylum policy.

Subjective feelings rather than objective facts?

The issue at hand revolves around the housing of asylum seekers who arrive via small boats across the Channel. Anderson’s statement underscores the growing frustration felt by some regarding the situation.

Even though, in fact, data from Migration Watch UK, a think tank advocating for stricter migration controls, reveals that small boat crossings are currently 17% lower than the corresponding period in 2022.

Small boats

According to recent polling by YouGov, a staggering 80% of Britons express little to no confidence in Rishi Sunak’s ability to reduce the number of asylum seekers crossing the Channel in small boats. This lack of confidence is consistent among both Conservative and Labour voters, although Tories tend to be “not very” confident while Labour supporters are more inclined to be “not at all” confident.

While these figures may appear disheartening for the government, it is worth noting that if 80% of the population anticipates no reduction in small boat crossings, even a modest decrease would surpass expectations.

Considering these statistics, it is clear that Sunak’s potential achievement of any reduction in small boat crossings should be viewed as a noteworthy accomplishment.

More than eight in ten believe the government is handling immigration badly. | CREDIT: YOUGOV


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