“Inhumanity and disdain” – Carmichael responds to Tory Deputy Chair comments on “Orkneys” asylum

22 Nov 2023

Orkney and Shetland MP and Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Home Affairs, Alistair Carmichael, has today responded to comments by Conservative Party Deputy Chair Lee Anderson MP who suggested on GB News that asylum seekers should be sent to “remote” Scottish islands while they wait for their applications to be processed.

Mr Anderson said:

“We’ve got the Orkneys or some remote Scottish island. I know it’s a bit parky up there this time of year. But if people are genuinely escaping war or persecution then a nice Scottish island with a few outbuildings would be suitable. This is a beautiful country. Parts of Scotland are a ‘go to’ destination, the remote islands – I’d like to be able to afford a place up there.”

In response, Mr Carmichael said:

“This is not a serious proposition. I would be astonished if Lee Anderson could even find Orkney – or in his words “the Orkneys” – on a map. His remarks show inhumanity towards desperate and vulnerable people – and disdain towards island communities to boot.

“Anderson has form for brainstorming Tory policy live on air. Obviously, this is a novel sort of brainstorming as it does not actually involve the engagement of a brain but instead looks more like an exercise in corralling as many prejudices as possible into one space and calling it a policy. If Rishi Sunak cannot bring his deputy chair into line then the only conclusion is that he approves of these attitudes.

“It is yet another attempt by a Conservative MP to kick up dust and distract attention from the complete failure of this government to manage our asylum and immigration system. Every day the backlog of unprocessed asylum applications gets longer. They should focus on fixing that, instead of looking around for new rows to pick.”

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