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  1. ITV Report

PM comes under fire in Commons for 'bunch of migrants' comment

David Cameron referred to people in the Calais Jungle as 'a bunch of migrants'. Credit: ITV News

David Cameron has come under fire from MPs after referring to refugees as a "bunch of migrants".

The prime minister accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell of never standing up for British people before saying: "They met with a bunch of migrants in Calais and said they could all come to Britain."

His comments - nearly six months after he was criticised by describing migrants as coming to the Europe in a "swarm" - prompted Yvette Cooper to raise a point of order with Speaker John Bercow.

In a letter to the prime minister, Mr Corbyn said the remarks were "shameful".

I have to say I found it shameful that you referred to the people in those camps as “a bunch of migrants”, escalating the tensions on such a serious issue. It is clear that many are fleeing conflict and human rights abuses that you and I cannot begin to imagine.

Such dismissive language and tone demeans people’s suffering and demeans the office of Prime Minister.

– Jeremy Corbyn, in letter to David Cameron

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The Prime Minister was referring to a visit to the Calais refugee camp made by Corbyn made last week where he described the conditions as "disgraceful".

Yvette Cooper, the former shadow home secretary, said the phrase was inappropriate especially when many in the House of Commons were paying tribute on Holocaust Memorial Day.

She called on the Speaker John Bercow to ask the prime minister to withdraw the comment and to use more "statesmanship-like" language.

But Mr Bercow disagreed, saying the phrase was not disorderly, not un-parliamentary."

Other MPs and politicians took to Twitter to register their outrage at Cameron's comments.

Others, including comedians David Baddiel and David Schneider, also hit out at Cameron.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston questioned whether his comments would "haunt him".

David Cameron's comments in full

The idea that those two right honourable gentlemen [Corbyn and McDonnell] would stand up to anyone in this regard is laughable. Look at the record over the last week - they met with the unions and they gave them flying pickets.

They met with the Argentinians, they gave them the Falkland Islands. They met with a bunch of migrants in Calais, they said they could all come to Britain. The only people they never stand up for are the British people and hard-working taxpayers.

– Prime Minister David Cameron in parliament