"...what I said 18 months ago was wrong and I am sorry for saying it": MP Christian Wakeford apologises for previous comments about asylum seekers.
The Labour MP for Bury South has apologised for remarks he made about asylum seekers while he was a Conservative MP. Christian Wakeford, who defected in January 2022, previously claimed asylum seekers have a "shopping trolley as to what they, as economic migrants".
Leading a Westminster debate, the MP said two of his constituents had opened his eyes to the difficulties many asylum seekers face when arriving in the UK.
Mr Wakeford apologised for his comments in July 2021, when he supported a controversial nationality and borders bill, and called for asylum seekers to be given the right to work.
Asylum seekers cannot work as an employee or a worker, even for a voluntary organisation, unless they have been granted permission to work under UK immigration laws.
"I want to go on record and say what I said 18 months ago was wrong and I am sorry for saying it", Mr Wakeford said.
“Every week, the government uses scapegoats and as we continue to see even yesterday, asylum seekers have been one for this government for far too long.
"I am sorry for playing into that narrative. These people aren’t arbitrary numbers for newspaper editors to froth at the mouth about and stoke the fire of intolerance.
"They are human beings who have hopes and dreams, for them and their children, they want a good education, to live life without fear of persecution.
"But more importantly, they need our help."
In response to Christian Wakeford's comments, Home Office minister Sarah Dines said: "The UK has a proud history of welcoming and supporting those in need of our protection.
"We do take our responsibilities very seriously and we are committed to ensure that we act in accordance with our national obligations."
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know