Tory brands Wellingborough MP's 'turn boats back' comment as abhorrent as protest planned

Peter Bone thinks boats of refugees should be returned to France

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 4:18 pm
Peter Bone

Peter Bone's claim the UK should 'turn the boats back' has been branded as abhorrent by a fellow Conservative with a protest set to take place outside the Wellingborough MP's office.

Mr Bone, who has represented the town in Parliament since 2005, has submitted a private members' bill which would require asylum seekers who have arrived in the UK from a safe country to be immediately returned there.

Record numbers of refugees reached UK shores last month after taking the dangerous crossing of the English Channel from France. However, nations such as France and Germany grant asylum to far more people than the UK.

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In a tweet which has been shared more than 500 times, Mr Bone posted a video of himself discussing the bill with the comment: "Turn the boats back."

Now the Independent Socialists in Wellingborough have called for a protest to be held outside his Midland Road office at 10am on Friday (September) over the 'inhumane proposals'.

And Conservative councillor Scott Brown, who represents the Earls Barton ward on North Northamptonshire Council, has also hit out against "inflammatory" rhetoric.

Mr Bone told the Northants Telegraph he is self-isolating because he has Covid-19 and would not be making media comments when approached.

Cllr Brown spoke out against Mr Bone's private members' bill, which has very little chance of becoming UK law.

He said: "I have the upmost respect for Peter Bone. As a local MP he is undoubtedly an asset to his constituency and works diligently on casework and has undoubtedly helped hundreds and thousands of people in his time serving the people of Wellingborough and the surrounding areas. However, I find the private members' bill proposed by Peter Bone to be nothing more than dog whistle politics to play to a particular crowd.

"He knows full well that this bill has absolutely no chance of becoming law and what’s more, I believe, there is already provision within UK law to allow the UK Government to refuse to consider asylum applications, if it is judged that the person could have claimed asylum elsewhere.

"We are duty bound to consider applications for asylum on merit and on a case-by-case basis. Those that are not genuine asylum seekers should absolutely be repatriated and seek entry to the UK using the appropriate channels.

"His comments to 'turn the boats back' are abhorrent and as a fellow member of the Conservative Party I would like to distance myself from what I consider to be purposefully inflammatory rhetoric, designed to stoke up fire on an already contentious issue."

Friday's protest will take place under slogans including 'refugees welcome here' and 'save all people in danger at sea'.

When he spoke in the House of Commons Mr Bone said it is 'evil' that people are being trafficked across the channel so gangs make money.

He said: "The Home Secretary is totally right to introduce legislation to turn those boats back because that’s the only way we are going to end this trade.

“I have a serious suggestion, I have a private members' bill that does exactly that."