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Tory MP Gordon Henderson: Most Migrants are Economic Not Refugees, Accepting Too Many Will Send the Wrong Message

At least one Conservative Party MP has spoken out against the increasing calls for Britain to take tens of thousands of refugee migrants over the next few months, as Europe’s migrant crisis worsens.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson sounds more like Nigel Farage than David Cameron when he notes, in his message posted to Facebook, that Britain cannot absorb countless numbers of predominantly economic migrants, and that taking too many refugees will send the wrong message.

He says: “There is another problem with simply letting into Europe the hundreds of thousands who are contributing to the current migrant crisis that is fast becoming a catastrophe. It is this: if Europe accepts those migrants then their place in the boats coming across the Mediterranean will be filled by another wave of migrants. Such a mass movement is not sustainable.”

His note came just a few hours after Mr Farage had launched UKIP’s ‘Say no to the EU’ tour, and said many of the things Mr Henderson came to agree with. Mr Farage yesterday blamed the open door rhetoric of German Chancellor Angela Merkel for worsening the “pull factors” of the crisis.

The way to stop more human tragedy, he said, was to stop the boats coming.

Mr Henderson said last year that he considered defecting to UKIP over immigration and the European Union, but decided against it because some of their other policy positions were “muddled”.

You can read Mr Henderson’s Facebook post below in full:

During my five years as an MP I have received regularly letters of complaint about the number of immigrants that the Government has let into the country (a majority of whom came from other EU countries and who we cannot keep out of Britain without leaving the EU – a debate about which is already underway with a referendum in the offing).

Now I am receiving scores of emails (some of which come from the very same people!) complaining that the Government is turning its back on the migrants trying to get into Britain and other European countries.

Of course there is a difference between refugees who are fleeing conflict and economic migrants who are simply looking, understandably, for a better life in richer countries.

It is worth pointing out that many of the migrants who we see on our TV screens every night fall into the latter category, but a proportion are genuine refugees.

The problem is how do we differentiate between the two? The answer is that it is very difficult, which is why many European countries, including Britain, are being cautious about welcoming them with open arms.

There is another problem with simply letting into Europe the hundreds of thousands who are contributing to the current migrant crisis that is fast becoming a catastrophe. It is this: if Europe accepts those migrants then their place in the boats coming across the Mediterranean will be filled by another wave of migrants. Such a mass movement is not sustainable.

Here in Britain the immigrants that we have seen in the past ten years have in the main made a positive contribution to Britain financially, and are partly responsible for the country’s economic growth, however, there is no doubt those immigrants have placed a strain on public services.

I am sure that I am not alone in finding gut wrenching some of the scenes currently being witnessed. This is human misery at its deepest and I have the utmost sympathy for those who are caught up in what is the first real mass human tragedy of the 21st Century.

However, Britain simply cannot offer a home to unlimited numbers of refugees, as is being advocated by certain people, including Nicola Sturgeon, because that would simply increase the pressure on housing and public services.

But I do think that we should something to help, so I think that David Cameron’s offer to accept some of the real Syrian refugees, who are currently in camps in the Middle East, strikes the right balance.

I also think Mr Cameron is right to concentrate the help Britain offers to that of a financial nature, rather than accepting more migrants, because we have to solve the problem at source.

We can best do that by making it more economically attractive for people to live in their own countries, rather than risk their lives travelling to Europe.

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