Afghanistan: Desmond Swayne says 'Britain is full'
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Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne criticised calls to increase the number of resettling Afghans in the UK from 20,000 to “several hundred thousand” as he pointed out one of the biggest concerns of his constituents in New Forest West is adequate housing. Sir Desmond, who had previously criticised fleeing Afghans during for not staying and fighting during the emergency Afghanistan debate, believed the current 20,000 figure was “reasonable” considering many have helped the UK over the past two decades. Sir Desmond said “Britain is full” as he rejected increasing the number of Afghan migrants entering the UK.
Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed the bulk of the 20,000 resettled Afghans will be made up of women and children who are fleeing persecution in Afghanistan under the Taliban.
In the first year of the new scheme, around 5,000 will be allowed to resettle in the UK but the Home Secretary did not reveal how long it would take to take on the full 20,000 promised.
Ms Patel said the scheme mirrors the one used for Syrian refugees which allows thousands to settle in the UK.
She told BBC Radio 4: “We could end up bringing many more [than 20,000] but first of all we have to have the underpinning and the infrastructure and the support to do that.”
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However, some Labour members have called for the UK to increase their migrant quota.
Sir Desmond took issue with the suggestion and told GB News: “I think [allowing 20,000] is reasonable but we have been beset with demands today to [allow] hundreds of thousands.
“You know, Britain is full! The biggest issue in my postbag in the New Forest is the shortage of housing, people haven’t got anywhere to live.
“And yet, we’re opening the door to a great many more.”
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Earlier in the Afghanistan debate, Sir Desmond attacked Sir Keir Starmer and said Afghans should stay and fight rather than flee from a “brutal” regime.
He said in the Commons: “Were the government of this kingdom to be overthrown by a wicked and brutal regime, I’d venture that he’d want a leading role in the resistance.
“He wouldn’t be queuing at the airport, would he?”
Sir Keir quickly dismissed the comments, saying he would not accept any criticism after seeing colleagues from his Public Prosecution Office days risk their lives in Afghanistan.
Sir Desmond was asked to answer for his comments after the session with Labour MP Charlotte Nichols branding Sir Desmond’s comments an “absolutely vile intervention”.
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He told GB News: “I’m simply making the point that if we were overthrown by a ghastly vicious brutal regime, the question we would all have to ask ourselves is do we stay and resist?
“Or do we flee?
“And that is something that we haven’t had to confront and I have every sympathy with people in Afghanistan who have to make that decision.
“Clearly some have to go or they’ll be killed – horribly.
“But I think that we have to have a sense that the duty of most Afghans will be to hang on in their country as we would here.”
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