Blackpool South MP Scott Benton earlier this week posted this photograph and message (reproduced below) on Twitter – and has gained over 2,500 retweets and over 9,000 likes.
In his Tweet, MP Benton shared his views on the record number of people crossing the Channel in small boats on one day, saying ‘Stopping this has to be a top priority for the incoming PM. Do whatever it takes. Enough is enough. My constituents are sick and tired of seeing these images. No ifs, no buts, we must find a way to stop this embarrassing farce.’
MP Benton’s controversial statement drew a wealth of mixed messages, ranging from support to anger – some respondents backing his message, others criticising it, particularly during a cost of living crisis.
Typical of the comments which did not share MP Benton’s enthusiasm for stopping this ‘embarrassing farce’ included this reply from one Twitter user who said, ‘It is an embarrassing farce that there are no legal routes for asylum seekers to come to the UK at the moment, you had 12 years to make that route and take back control, you didn’t, you can’t, you lied.’ Another respondent wrote: ‘Why are the 115,000 Ukrainians fleeing a war torn country are ok but these people fleeing a worn torn country (I’m sorry a lot of them are) not ok? I notice the Ukrainians are white. Hmm…’
However, other commentators agreed with MP Benton, for example, ‘Well said, why not take up the mantle and do something. Start with, stopping the benefits to spend in coffee shops and to buy cigarettes. Stop putting them up in hotels, start getting in them into detention centres and treating them like the criminals they are.’ Another wrote, “Letting thousands coming in IS adding to the cost of living. Who do you think pays the hotels & benefits? The NHS strain? The lack of GP & Dentist service. We are a small island that CANNOT support anymore. It’s the biggest scandal of the 21st century!”
Following the controversial post, MP Benton told LancsLive:,’The incoming Prime Minister faces many challenges. Top of the list will be providing families with further support to help with the increases in the cost of living. Among their other top priorities needs to be addressing the unacceptable situation with illegal immigrants crossing the channel. This issue comes up time after time on the doorstep.
The government provides many safe routes for those genuinely in need of asylum but we can’t accept a situation whereby young men in their 20s can circumvent the immigration system and pay to be smuggled into this country. This is costing taxpayers millions of pounds a week to accommodate them and this has to stop. In addition to our Rwanda relocation plan, the new PM needs to find a way to address this problem.’