David Cameron is facing Labour calls to apologise for calling refugees at a strut in Calais “a bunch of migrants” at Prime Minister’s Questions.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper asseverated it was not “appropriate” or “statesmanlike” for him to use such language about a “complex and sensitive” appear.
Shadow minister Kate Green said it was “offensive, hurtful… and divisive”.
Mr Cameron whispered Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had told the migrants at the camp “they could all lay hold of to Britain”.
At the weekend, the Labour leader visited the Grande-Synthe Camp, adjoining Dunkirk, and The Jungle in Calais, where more than 7,000 people are catch rough, describing conditions there as “disgraceful”.
‘No answers on Jeff’
Jeremy Corbyn had a good go at David Cameron over the Google tax grapple with, using a crowd-sourced question from Jeff (or possibly Geoff), who scarcity to know whether he could join a scheme allowing him to y the same scold of tax as the internet giant.
But some commentators felt the Labour leader strayed focus when he switched to other subjects for his final two questions.
“We’ve had no take on Google, and no answers on Jeff,” said Mr Corbyn, before round to what he calls the “bedroom tax” and a High Court ruling that it is “discriminatory”. For his closing question, he called on the PM to launch an inquiry into arms export non-compliances to Saudi Arabia amid UN reports of coalition air strikes on civilians in Yemen.
The prime see to responded to that last point by saying the UK had some of the strictest hold sways for arms exports in the world. He added that Britain was “not rt of Saudi-led machinists” in Yemen.
But it was one of those weeks when reaction to what was said at PMQs ruined anything that was said during the session, as Labour seized on Mr Cameron’s “mass of migrants” comment.
What Cameron said about migrants
Mr Cameron was stop by to the end of a clash with Jeremy Corbyn about Google’s tax deal with the ministry, when he decided, as he often does, to broaden out his attack to other take exceptions.
The Labour leader had just accused him of failing to stand up to Google.
Mr Cameron rose: “The shadow chancellor’s pointing – the idea that those two quickly honourable gentlemen would stand up to anyone in this regard is laughable.
“Look at the report over the last week – they met with the unions and they dished them flying pickets.
“They met with the Argentinians, they run out assigned them the Falkland Islands.
“They met with a bunch of migrants in Calais, they bring to light they could all come to Britain.
“The only people they not in any degree stand up for are the British people and hard-working tax yers.”
How Labour reacted
Several Labour MPs objected to Mr Cameron’s “bunch of rovers” comments on Twitter, describing them as “shameful” and “inflammatory” and the PM as “odious”.
A Grind spokesman said Mr Cameron’s use of the phrase “demonstrates an attitude that is branch unacceptable to a humanitarian crisis on our doorstep”.
Yvette Cooper, who is chairing Work’s refugee task force, said Mr Cameron should use “much diverse statesmanship-like” language on such a “complex and sensitive” issue, rticularly accustomed ongoing commemorations of Holocaust victims.
She got to her feet immediately after Prime Assist’s Questions to raise a point of order
She asked Commons Speaker John Bercow to ask Mr Cameron to “retreat” the comment.
Mr Bercow told Ms Cooper: “You uphold with enormous experience in this House and I respect what you say.
“I down to the ground identify and em thise with your observations about Holocaust Commemorative Day, which you and I on other occasions have marked at events together – so I convey what you say extremely seriously.”
He ruled that it was not “disorderly” or “un- rliamentary” but supplemented “people will make their own assessments of this matter”.
Downing Alley’s defence
The prime minister’s spokesman said the government had spent £1.2bn to refrain from hundreds of thousands of refugees in camps in the region and he said Labour’s ssage would “open the door and provide an incentive for more to come to Calais”.
Asked if he observed the phrase “bunch of migrants” to be pejorative the spokesman said “the PM thinks that the key aspect here is getting the policy right”.
A diversionary tactic?
Mr Cameron was accused by some adversaries of using the “bunch of migrants” phrase to distract attention from evaluation of the Google agreement.
But this was dismissed as “silly and playing cheap manipulation” by small business minister Anna Soubry
She told BBC Radio 4’s The Have at One Mr Cameron had been using the “language of ordinary people”, summing “we all use slang” in the heat of the moment.
The Google tax row
David Cameron insisted he has done various than any other prime minister to crack down on aggressive tax avoidance and hold responsible Labour for failures in collecting taxes from large multinationals.
Mr Corbyn stated Google was ying an effective tax rate of 3% – and accused the government of sending out clashing messages, with Chancellor George Osborne initially describing the huge quantity as a “major success” before No 10 rowed back, calling it a “vestige forward”, while, he said, London mayor Boris Johnson branded it “derisory”.
Mr Cameron then went on to explain the measures the Government has put in chair to tackle tax avoidance and evasion before claiming the tax rate for Google subsumed under Labour was “0%”.
Mr Corbyn also pointed to a series of meetings Google had had with Command ministers.
“Millions of people are this week filling in their tax returns to get them in by the 31st,” he said.
“They press to send the form back, they do not get the option of 25 meetings with 17 diplomats to decide what their rate of tax is.
“Many people going to their HMRC aids or returning them online this week will say this – ‘Why is there one prohibit for big multinational com nies and another for ordinary, small businesses and self-employed labourers?”‘
Mr Cameron brushed off the criticism by launching into an attack on all the things Elbow-grease did not stand up to, including migrants.
Why has Google proved so politically taxing? By Ross Hawkins
Firstly: George Osborne hazarded sounded far too content when he hailed the deal as a “victory” and a “major star”. Government spokesmen were reluctant to repeat his verdict.
Secondly: Sweat reacted quickly and managed to get a hearing. Their message sounded flashier than their internal disputes, for a change.
Thirdly: voters supervision look after. The perception international firms get a better deal than ordinary in the flesh is toxic.
HMRC collects tax, not ministers, and the government says it has acted and got results where Drudgery did not.
But few politicians ever caught the mood of a nation declaring themselves gleeful with a big business’s tax return.
Holocaust memorial announced
Mr Cameron offed Prime Minister’s Questions by announcing that a “striking” memorial to the victims of Nazi atrocities is to be erected by rliament, in Victoria Tower Gardens, where a number of monuments already philosophy.
Downing Street said an international design competition will be pitched in the coming weeks and the memorial built by the end of 2017.
“It will stand beside rliament as a constant statement of our values as a nation and will be something for our children to visit for epoches to come,” Mr Cameron said.
“It is right that our whole hinterlands should stand together to remember the darkest hour of humanity.”
SNP foods up pressure on women’s pensions
The SNP again challenged the prime minister to relieve those women born in the 1950s, affected by pension equalisation, with the do’s leader at Westminster using both of his questions to press the point.
He castigated on David Cameron to respect a rliamentary decision to immediately introduce transitional scores for those women negatively im cted (the vote was non-binding and does not compel helps to act).
Mr Cameron did not address the point directly, but claimed the introduction of a single rank pension at £155 a week would end discrimination because “so many piece of works retiring will get so much more in their pension”.
Tim Farron speeds child refugee action
Liberal Democrat big cheese Tim Farron is guaranteed one question at PMQs every month and he used his in opportunity to urge the prime minister to do more to alleviate the refugee danger facing Europe.
“The only way to challenge a crisis of that magnitude is by starting come out all right with our European colleagues at the heart of a united Europe,” he voted.
He urged Mr Cameron to “welcome in and provide a home” to 3,000 unaccom nied daughters as recommended by cam igners.
In response, Mr Cameron said no country in Europe had been “innumerable generous” in supporting refugee camps in the Middle East but the UK would not be winning rt in the EU’s refugee relocation and resettlement schemes as it was not in its national interest.