LONDON (Bywire News) - Tory MP Tom Hunt flew into a fit of rage during a discussion about immigration with Novara Media's calm and collected Contributing Editor Ash Sarkar live on the BBC's Politics Live show this morning.
During the heated debate, Sarkar argued that the Tory government's treatment of asylum seekers and refugees was inhumane, and claimed that treating people in this way merely perpetuated the very problem that it was supposed to solve.
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Sarkar brought up the example of asylum seekers housed in “filthy” and "overcrowded" conditions at Napier Barracks - a situation that Priti Patel's Home Office had recently been found to have acted unlawfully over by the High Court:
"Making conditions more miserable for migrants isn't really having an effect on either asylum claims or small boat crossings.
"We've seen the conditions in Napier barracks, which are terrible: a huge outbreak of Coronavirus, a fire that was set because people were so miserable, and felt so without hope, that they ended up burning down their own accommodation."
However, the Tory MP for Ipswich, Tom Hunt, took exception to Sarkar's argument - accusing her of attempting to "justify" lawbreaking.
But Sarkar responded calmly, pointing out the unlawful conditions within the barracks, and saying that no human could be expected to behave rationally - especially people who have potentially fled from horrors such as war or torture - in such a situation:
"If you were in a barracks, with dozens of people around you who had Coronavirus, and you yourself may have been deeply traumatised and suffering from PTSD because you have fled from a war-torn country, and many of these people are victims of torture, do you expect that you would behave within the same bounds of civility as you or me with our privileged existences? No I don't think that you would!"
After Hunt had again accused Sarkar of trying to justify lawbreaking, the Novara Media Editor simply continued with her argument, stating:
"I'm saying that the way in which you stop this from happening - I want to prevent any scenes like that from ever happening again - is that you treat people like human beings.
"If you take a look at Brookhouse Removal Centre, the Independent Monitoring Board found that a third of detainees there had to be put on constant suicide watch.
"Do you think that's acceptable? Do you think that that's a good way to treat human beings?"
However, in his response, Hunt flew into a fit of rage - seemingly angry that Sarkar has accused him of lacking compassion towards migrants:
"What I think is acceptable, is that we have a system based on rules that are followed.
"What I think is acceptable, is if somebody breaks our immigration laws, and comes here from another safe European country, that we do not allow him to stay in our country.
"I think most people in our country want clear rules that are followed.
"This is very much an extreme view that you've got - it is not in keeping with majority people in our country, who are actually compassionate and do actually want to represent the most genuine of refugees.
"This trade in human lives makes this harder. It makes this job harder. Your opposition is not a compassionate position, and it is not a moral position."
Despite the visceral aggression of the Tory MPs' mannerisms, Sarkar finished her argument calmly, stating:
"I'm saying 'expand the number of legal and safe avenues for asylum seekers to come here and lodge their claims when they're in this country'.
"The fact is is that most asylum claims don't even come to this country, and people who do want to come to this country, it's usually for reasons of language familiarity - or they've already got a support network or family here.
"But what's going on with [Tory immigration] policies, is that they push people out of those safe and legal routes and into the arms of people traffickers.
"So if we want to have a conversation based on reality - where we both agree that we don't want people traffickers or people who profit off of human misery and exploit poor and desperate people - that means expanding safe and legal routes.
"[But] if what you want to do, and what your government wants to do, is just immiserate the lives of asylum seekers, then you're not going to do anything to [reduce] numbers, and all you're going to do is create more human misery."
You can watch the explosive discussion between Sarkar and Hunt in the featured video at the top of the article.
(Writing by Tom D. Rogers, editing by Jess Miller.)