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Tens of thousands sign petition calling for UK to swap Katie Hopkins for 50,000 refugees

Tens of thousands of people have signed a tongue-in-cheek online petition calling for the UK government to swap controversial reality TV star Katie Hopkins for 50,000 refugees.

The petition calls for the UK to swap Katie Hopkins for 50,000 refugees Credit: PA

The Change.org petition was started by Tickhill resident Ben Fletcher, who said he was "bored" one last week so set it up as a way to try to raise awareness in a humorous manner.

In a matter of days, more than 51,000 people have put their name to the call - and even Hopkins herself has tweeted a link to the site.

On the petition, Fletcher said it was "clear" the UK needed to do more to help refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

The UK...has currently not got the space for refugees. No, this is not because we are full, it is because Katie Hopkins' massive head takes it all up.

So I propose we swap Hopkins and send her to Syria - a country where I am sure she would be welcome - and instead take in 50,000 refugees.

The facts are they deserve a lot more than she does, and it would be a win win all round - we help people and save their lives and at the same time get rid of the UK's contribution to the hall of national embarrassments.

– Ben Fletcher, via Change.org
More than 51,000 people have signed Credit: Change.org

He said he never expected to gain more than 100 signatures, but was delighted that it had helped get people talking about the need to do more to help refugees.

"It was never meant in bad taste. There is a serious point behind this petition and that is that there are thousands and thousands of people who need our help," he said.

He has received numerous offers of a pint as thanks for setting the petition up, he added, but urged people to donate the money to any one of the aid agencies working to help those in need, including Doctors Without Borders, the Refugee Council, Unicef and Save the Children.

It comes after Hopkins described migrants as "cockroaches" in a column for the Sun earlier this year, and said she would "use gunships" to stop migrants entering Europe from Libya.

She also told radio station LBC she would like to "burn all the boats" in Africa.