‘When you start talking about the Nazis, you’ve lost the argument’ says Sir Robert Buckland



Conservative MP Sir Robert Buckland says he disagrees with Gary Lineker over his comments on migrants – but respects his right to free speech.

In an interview on Camilla Tominey on GB News, Sir Robert said: “Personally, I disagree with what he said. I think he’s a private citizen and is entitled to express his views. We live in a country of free speech however, much we might disagree.

“I haven’t read the terms of his contract, if there are contractual issues with the BBC, he’s got to sort that out with his employer.

“I think that it’s best for politicians like me to stop piling in, let the BBC sort out what is an employer issue and an employee issue, and then deal with it in that way. We should respect the judgment of the BBC.

“I think the Prime Minister is right about this, let’s not weigh into this row. I will defend everybody’s right to free speech, even though I might disagree with it, and that includes Mr. Lineker but I really think this is taking the focus away from the sort of serious discussion we’ve just had about the details of these policies.

“I’m absolutely against open door policy. I think there’s a false juxtaposition between comparing what the government is doing to 1930 Germany, which when you start talking about the Nazis, you’ve lost the argument. Then this other argument that if you’re against it, you’re in favour of open doors, that’s bogus. 

“What we should be talking about is increasing safe and legal routes, but up to a certain quota or a certain limit. And I think if all the countries of Western Europe agreed, that would be progress. 

Discussing the deal struck between Rishi Sunak and President Macron, Sir Robert said: “I think the money [given to France] has been on detention centres and more provision, but that’s like sort of trying to just fill a hole while at the same time, the bottom of the hole is still developing. 

“The real problem here is a lack I think of common purpose amongst the countries of Western Europe to say ‘hold on, we are always going to be able to welcome asylum seekers but we do need to plan for the future’ and not knowing the numbers and not having any control on that causes strain on schools, hospitals, all the public services and indeed housing.”

Focusing on a cap for immigration, Sir Buckland responded: “I think we’ve confused two things here. I mean, there’s general migration, which is going to be controlled via a visa process. We’ve got advice on where we have job shortages and I think it’s right that for example, in health and other areas, we do recruit people to come to this country to help us run our services. 

“But when we talk about asylum seeking and that side of immigration that’s a different issue. And I think there the government is right to say, let’s set a quota in Parliament every year. So we can then plan and local government and local authorities can plan ahead, but at the same time, that sort of approach is only going to work if we open up some more safe and legal routes internationally to allow more applications to be made from abroad. 

“At the moment, the only schemes are Hong Kong which is great, Ukraine which is absolutely right. Africa and Afghanistan, we all understand that. But there’s no other way of making an application and I’m not saying open the doors.

Recent concern was highlighted over potential future plans to house immigrant children within detention centres and deport them, which Sir Buckland stressed he is firmly against: “I am [uncomfortable with it] and I’ve said so publicly in the newspapers as well. 

“I agree with Priti [Patel] on this, it’s been our policy as a government, not to treat children that inhumane way. Now, I absolutely understand that there’s a concern that somehow children and women are being used as a sort of ‘way in’ for unscrupulous people to come into this country. 

“But I think we’ve really got to think carefully before using detention centres or places of incarceration for children. I just don’t think that’s right. And I hope that in the course of the debate, we can look at that and refine the approach.

“I think we need to look very carefully as parliamentarians at exactly what they’re saying. It was made clear to me and I think rightly so, that you have to have exemptions for children and the very ill. 

“If you have a total blanket policy, I think any court is going to have a problem with that. And there are exemptions in there, which is why the government is confident that they are working within international law obligations.”


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