Conservative MP Marco Longhi has warned Keir Starmer is playing a “clever game” in his rhetoric about illegal immigration.
As Rishi Sunak vows to crack down on illegal Channel crossings, the Labour Party has voiced their criticism at the Government’s perceived failure on the issue.
Mr Longhi told GB News that the Labour leader wants to sound “tough” on immigration, yet remains committed to rejoining the EU.
He told Tom Harwood: “There is a clever game that Starmer has started to play. He wants to sound tough on immigration but everyone who knows the Labour Party and Keir Starmer, who is the chief architect of Project Rejoin.
“He wants to get us back into the EU and therefore open our borders completely.
“The Conservative Party has been talking the talk but has not yet been walking the walk.
“We need to see evidence and many more flights taking off to those countries or maybe to Rwanda to get over that cynicism that I believe the public feels about the Conservative Party.
“We need to get back to a growth pin which is underpinned by lower taxation. These are fundamental Conservative principles.
“This is what the Prime Minister needs to be thinking about. There are many Conservative MPs like me who are thinking, when is it that the Conservative Party is actually going to become more conservative?”
The comments come as Home Secretary Suella Braverman promised the Government will spend £3.5 billion on the asylum system in 2022/23.
Marco Longhi says Keir Starmer is playing a "clever game". Image: GB News
Suella Braverman said £2.3billion of the total bill for 2022/23 will go towards paying for hotels.
“We are accommodating 117,000 people overall who are in our asylum process”, she told the Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
“So there is a huge amount of money that is going into accommodating a very large number of asylum seekers.”
Describing how “everything is still on the table and nothing is excluded”, Ms Braverman confirmed the Home Office was considering housing asylum seekers on disused cruise ships and suggested officials were in talks with ship companies.
She also discussed the “incredibly difficult” challenge of hitting the ambition of getting 100,000 asylum seekers into local authority accommodation – as opposed to resorting to hotels – with that figure currently at 57,000.
“You then asked about cruise ships, we want to end the use of hotels as quickly as possible because it’s an unacceptable cost to the taxpayer, it’s over £5 million a day on hotel use alone,” she said.
“We will bring forward a range of alternative sites, they will include disused holiday parks, former student halls – I should say we are looking at those sites – I wouldn’t say anything is confirmed yet.
“But we need to bring forward thousands of places, and when you talk about vessels all I can say is – because we are in discussion with a wide variety of providers – that everything is still on the table and nothing is excluded.”
Alistair Carmichael, home affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, branded the asylum costs “astronomical” and warned that the “ludicrous proposals” to house asylum seekers on cruise ships will be “ineffective and incredibly expensive”.
Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director, said: “On top of the clear unsuitability, Suella Braverman’s talk of housing people seeking asylum in old cruise ships, disused holiday camps and student halls is just more distraction from the urgent task of reforming an asylum system that she and her predecessor have effectively broken.”
During the session, Ms Braverman also suggested she has yet to find a new airline to deport migrants to Rwanda.