Not even helping! Patel sparks fury after claiming SNP fail to assist housing migrants

Stuart McDonald grills Priti Patel on Anti-Refugee Bill

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The Home Secretary appeared to lash back following accusations from the SNP’s Shadow Home Secretary Stuart McDonald that her Nationality and Borders Bill is “atrocious” and could see overtly harsh prison sentences levelled at illegal immigrants arriving in the UK. He also asked why migrants fleeing war face harsh justice when Ms Patel appears to back the COVID-19 rule flouting Prime Minister amid ‘partygate’.

In a tense exchange in the House of Commons on Monday, Mr McDonald slammed: “Arriving in the UK to claim asylum is not unlawful… it is only her atrocious anti-refugee bill that will see Afghans, Syrians and Uyghur’s arrested, prosecuted and impriosoned for up to four years!

“So why does she see relentless flouting of lockdown rules as forgivable for the Prime Minister but seeking safety here from Assad, the Taliban or genocide is worth four-years in prison?”

Ms Patel hit back joking how she “always enjoys” the contributions from Mr McDonald but in a full throated attack slammed him and the SNP for “political gimmicks” during voting on the bill which she said “frustrated the will of the public” in reforming migration laws in the UK.

She went on to assert that the Conservative Government will do “everything possible to tackle the unscrupulous exploitation of people who cross illegally”.

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She added: “But also at the same time provide sanctuary to those that need our help and support, fleeing persecution, who need refuge”.

But turning up the heat in a ferocious attack, the Home Secretary accused the SNP of “not even helping” to accommodate migrants throughout the crisis as she suggested the brunt of the migrant crisis is being dealt with in England.

Furiously gesturing at her opposite counterpart, Ms Patel hammered: “Quite frankly, when local authorities in Scotland are not even helping to assist in the accommodation of these people, I will take no lectures from the party opposite!”

Mr McDonald shot back branding Ms Patel’s answer “as convincing as the Prime Minister’s apology” in reference to the Downing Street party scandals.

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He went on to accuse Ms Patel of “quite a nerve” to accuse the SNP of political gimmicks after proposals pushed out over the weekend which will see the Royal Navy take command of the migrant crisis in the English Channel.

Mr McDonald said: “The proposals leaked out over the weekend have absolutely nothing to do with saving lives and everything to do with saving the Prime Minister’s career!”

According to new Government data only 259 refugees were resettled in Scotland through the UK Government Resettlement Scheme during 2020 and 2021, half of those coming in the first quarter of 2020 before COVID-19 lockdowns kicked off.

1,960 refugees were brought to Britain through the scheme during 2020 and 2021 meaning Scotland took 13 percent of refugees.

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While only 131 refugees were brought to Scotland in the first nine months of 2021, compared to 655 in the first three quarters of 2017 and 473 in the same period in 2018 and 503 in the first three months of 2019.

In total, 824 refugees were resettled in Scotland through the UK Government Resettlement Scheme during 2017, 617 in 2018 and 650 in 2019. In 2020, the total was 128.

On Tuesday the Telegraph reported that experts have warned the Government that “double” the number of migrants could cross the English Channel in 2022. That could see around 60,000 migrants arrive on Britain’s shores, compared to the more than 28,300 that arrived in 2021.

It comes as the migrant crisis has not abated in 2022, which saw 197 migrants reach the UK on seven boats on Saturday, while 271 arrived in ten boats on Thursday.

Tom Pursglove, minister for justice and tackling illegal migration has said the Government is working to reform its approach to people crossing the Channel through the Nationality and Borders Bill, which is currently going through the House of Lords.

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