Keir Starmer stands in front of a Union Jack

Keir Starmer’s priority is to show that the Tories are incompetent—and his Labour Party can be trusted to stop refugees crossing the Channel.  All of this comes as no shock. Since becoming party leader, Starmer has stood before a Union Jack flag while arguing against migrant workers and for harsher border controls. 

In the House of Commons last Wednesday Starmer berated Sunak on the new Illegal Migration Bill.  But not because he cares about the lives of refugees or because it would effectively ban people from making asylum claims in Britain.

He berated the Tories because, as Starmer put it, it would lead to more “failed attempts” at stopping crossings and deporting people. On the 18,000 people that were refused asylum last year, Starmer asked, “How many of them have actually been returned?” mocking the fact that the answer was just 18.

That’s 18 too many, but 18,000 too few for Starmer. Starmer’s criticisms extended to asking why just 1 percent of asylum claims were processed last year.  He wasn’t angry that refugees are suffering horrific conditions. 

He was annoyed that the system doesn’t get rid of people quick enough. Sunak accused Starmer of being “another lefty lawyer standing in our way”.  Painting Starmer as the champion of “free movement” is the Tories’ attempt to retain voters and win new support as their popularity plummets in the polls.

Not happy with the suggestion he’s left-wing, Starmer hit back at Sunak for allowing refugees “to sit in hotels for months on end at the taxpayers’ expense”.  And he continues to push the line that stopping Channel crossing is the key to “smashing” smuggling gangs. It’s clear that when it comes to fighting back against the Tories’ brutal legislation and defending the rights of refugees, Labour is not the vessel to put any hope in.

The Tories want to show Labour is soft on migration.  Meanwhile Starmer is desperate to prove he’s the man for the top job by going further rightwards on every issue—especially immigration.

And the rest of his front bench are happy to jibe at the Tories instead of defending the lives of those drowning to get to Britain. If Starmer gets his way, thousands of people will still be kicked out and will be stopped from claiming asylum.

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