PMQs: Caroline Lucas steals the show blasting Tories’ ‘poisonous narrative’ on asylum seekers

The Green MP asked why the PM has not made a Sudanese family visa scheme.

Caroline Lucas PMQs

In the last PMQs session before the local elections, Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak squabbled mainly on economic and housing issues, with the Labour leader grilling the Prime Minister on mortgage costs and the government’s decision to scrap housing targets.

But it was Caroline Lucas who stole the show. The Green MP called on Rishi Sunak to set up a Sudanese family visa scheme for those fleeing violence to reunite with relatives in the UK, similar to the scheme set up for Ukrainians.

The PM declined to say whether such a move is on the cards.

“His government’s vile and immoral refugee ban bill and the toxic language coming from the Home Office isn’t even dog whistle politics,” said Lucas, adding, “It is a giant hard-right foghorn blasting out a poisonous narrative, and it plunged to new depths last week when a Home Office minister claimed that people trying to come to the UK, and I quote ‘tend to have completely different values to those in the UK.’

“Can he explain what he thinks is so different about the values held by the people of war-torn Sudan? And can he tell us what values are stopping him from creating a Sudanese family visa scheme like he did for the people of Ukraine?”

The PM’s feeble comeback was that Britain has a “proud history of welcoming almost half a million refugees over the past several years” and “will continue to do so.” Sunak also claimed that the country’s ability to help refugees is ‘absolutely hampered’ by illegal small boat crossings.   

The Green MP’s comments attracted praise on Twitter.

‘Caroline Lucas is kicking Sunak’s arse. Respect. One of the very few politicians with a backbone and integrity,” someone shared.

“Brilliant by Caroline Lucas,” wrote another.

“Compare and contrast. Brilliant use of language by Caroline Lucas PMQs. Long-winded boring planted questions by Tory MPs in a vain attempt to attack on local issues,” someone else shared.

Another highlight of the session was SNP MP Stephen Flynn asking the Prime Minister about Labour scrapping its pledge to scrap tuition fees. Flynn continued that in 2010 David Cameron persuaded Nick Clegg to drop his pledge on tuition fees and said that the axing tuition fees pledge is Labour’s ‘Nick Clegg moment.’

“Will Sunak take the credit for persuading Keir Starmer to do likewise,” he asked.

The PM thanked the SNP MP for the question, adding it is hard to keep up with Starmer’s broken promises.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

Image credit: Twitter screen grab

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