According to Hollywood star Emma Thompson, the UK is not taking its fair share of refugees because the British public is racist. Describing the country’s response to the migrant crisis as “really shaming” she insisted there is “plenty of room” for thousands of refugees.
Thompson was speaking on BBC’s Newsnight programme when she described the “mark of a civilised and humane society” as granting refuge to those in need. She added:
“We have to open our door to more refugees. The idea of 3,000 people in Calais who have been through unspeakable things makes me feel very ashamed.
“We’re not even missing our quotas. That’s really shaming. So I think it’s got a lot to do with racism.
“If these people were white, European, that were coming from some dictatorship in Bosnia. If they were coming I think we would feel quite differently about it…
“…I would hope there were statesmen and women out there with the kind of sense of decency and common humanity who would find it possible and indeed incumbent on them to stand up and say we need to help these people.
“They are not just coming over here because they want an easy ride, they have been through hell.
“There’s 3,000 of them in Calais. That’s nothing. We’ve got plenty of room for them.”
The intervention from the actress came as Prime Minister David Cameron reacted to mounting pressure on the British government to welcome more Syrian families escaping to Europe.
Cameron promised the UK will “fulfil our moral responsibilities,” continuing to accept thousands as it always has done while keeping overall numbers under review. Meanwhile the UK has opted out of international schemes, including the EU’s, that would require it to accept thousands more asylum seekers, instead focusing on spending aid money in the countries people are fleeing.