Mr Benton, who represents Blackpool South, recently tweeted that his constituents are ‘sick and tired’ of seeing images of immigrants crossing the channel in dinghies.
Blackpool MP Scott Benton has said the top priority for the next prime minister should be supporting families hit by rising costs of living – following a tweet which suggested it should be preventing immigrants crossing the English Channel.
The Conservative representative for Blackpool South wrote on social media this week that his constituents are ‘sick and tired’ of seeing images of immigrants crossing the channel in dinghies. The statement drew mixed messages of support and anger – some respondents backing his message, others criticising it during a cost of living crisis.
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Following the post, he confirmed to LancsLive: “The incoming Prime Minister faces many challenges. Top of the list will be providing families with further support to help with the increases in the cost of living.
“Among their other top priorities needs to be addressing the unacceptable situation with illegal immigrants crossing the channel. This issue comes up time after time on the doorstep.”
He continued: “The government provides many safe routes for those genuinely in need of asylum but we can’t accept a situation whereby young men in their 20s can circumvent the immigration system and pay to be smuggled into this country. This is costing taxpayers millions of pounds a week to accommodate them and this has to stop. In addition to our Rwanda relocation plan, the new PM needs to find a way to address this problem.”
It comes after Mr Benton tweeted that: “Stopping this has to be a top priority for the incoming PM. Do whatever it takes. Enough is enough. My constituents are sick and tired of seeing these images. No ifs, no buts, we must find a way to stop this embarrassing farce.” The message accompanied an image of several men in a boat.
Not everyone agreed with the MP’s message, as his constituents and other social media users took to Twitter to question Mr Benton’s priorities.
One twitter user wrote: “Nobody, nobody in your constituency is ‘seeing’ these scenes. Unless they are escaping the Isle of Man there are no boats coming to Blackpool. I would dispute your claim that ‘constituents’ are even thinking about this except when you tell them it’s something they should be.”
Another added: “As a onetime resident of Blackpool… no they aren’t.”
However some constituents jumped to Mr Benton’s defence, with one twitter user saying: “Letting thousands coming in IS adding to the cost of living. Who do you think pays the hotels & benefits? The NHS strain? The lack of GP & Dentist service. We are a small island that CANNOT support anymore. It’s the biggest scandal of the 21st century!”
Another added: “I totally agree Scott, the UK needs to provide safe routes and pick those refugees up in France, to give them a secure passage across the Channel.”
- 06:00, 25 AUG 2022