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Stick to ice cream: Minister in frosty exchange on migrants with Ben and Jerry’s

UK News | Published:

Chris Philp responded after the ice cream maker targeted Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Chris Phil and Ben & Jerry's

Immigration minister Chris Philp got into a frosty exchange with ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s after announcing a new plan to tackle migrants crossing the English Channel.

Mr Philp told the creators of Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Baked Alaska to “stick to ice cream” after they tweeted about migrant crossings.

He travelled to Paris on Tuesday to seek stronger enforcement measures as Border Force continued to deal with crossings along the south coast of the UK.

More migrants have arrived in the UK on Wednesday – the ninth day in a row.

The Royal Air Force was providing aerial support for the Border Force for the second time this week, with a Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft flying from Kinloss Barracks in Scotland to monitor the situation in the English Channel.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought into Dover by Border Force officers (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Speaking after the meeting in Paris, Mr Philp would not comment on details of the plan but said there were a “number of measures, some of them new, which are under discussion”.

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He said both countries had “renewed and reaffirmed their absolute commitment to make sure this border is properly policed and this route is completely ended”.

He then became involved in the exchange with Ben and Jerry’s on Twitter.

The frozen dessert giant’s official UK Twitter account wrote: “Hey @PritiPatel we think the real crisis is our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture.

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“People wouldn’t make dangerous journeys if they had any other choice.”

Mr Philp responded: “They’re ‘fleeing’ France, which is safe, civilised & has a good asylum system.

“Last year the UK made 20,000 asylum grants. We are the only G7 country to meet the 0.7% aid target & have run the largest refugee resettlement scheme in Europe over the last 5 years.

“Stick to ice cream.”

At least 12 migrants arrived at the port of Dover in Kent on Wednesday morning aboard Border Force boat Eagle.

They were helped ashore by officials in masks and fluorescent jackets and led up a gangway.

Border Force vessels continue to be active in the English Channel with more small boats expected later on Wednesday.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Nigel Farage arrives in Dover (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Speaking to reporters in Dover, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said: “With all the tough talk and with it happening every day it’s becoming a bit of a national humiliation.

“Until people know that coming via this route they will not be allowed to stay, they will just keep on coming.”

He defended the use of the word “invasion” to describe migrants arriving in the UK by sea.

“I said in April I thought there would be a summer invasion, by which I meant a very large number of people illegally landing on our beaches now.

“As it is, some land on beaches but most get picked up before. I think it’s a pretty reasonable use of the word, yes.”

A legal challenge was launched this week in a bid to halt the deportation of a group of asylum seekers who arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel in small boats.

Up to 20 people were due to be put on a charter flight to France and Germany on Wednesday, according to campaigners.

On Wednesday, the Duncan Lewis law firm said that the 19 people it was representing had all had their removals deferred by the Home Office, or stayed by a court.

The firm previously said it was representing people from Iran, Yemen, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan who have “strong claims for asylum and real reasons for wanting to stay in the UK” but have been told they are being deported.

A Duncan Lewis spokeswoman said: “While it is clearly good news that we ensured that 19 of our clients were not removed on the charter flight this morning, it should never have come this in the first place.

“Our legal action acted as the last resort for these asylum seekers, many of whom are victims of torture, trafficking, and sexual assault – who should not have been on this plane in the first place.”

It is not clear if the flight left, and if so, how many people were on it.

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