Should David Cameron comment on Labour calls to apologise for calling refugees at a camp in Calais “a bunch of migrants”?
Mr Cameron said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had told the migrants at the camp “they could all come to Britain”.
Labour MP Yvette Cooper said it was not “appropriate” or “statesmanlike” for him to use such language about a “complex and sensitive” issue.
Shadow minister Kate Green said it was “offensive, hurtful… and divisive”.
What Cameron said about migrants
Mr Cameron replied: “The shadow chancellor’s pointing – the idea that those two right honourable gentlemen would stand up to anyone in this regard is laughable.
“Look at the record over the last week – they met with the unions and they gave them flying pickets.
“They met with the Argentinians, they gave them the Falkland Islands.
“They met with a bunch of migrants in Calais, they said they could all come to Britain.
“The only people they never stand up for are the British people and hard-working taxpayers.”
How Labour reacted
Several Labour MPs objected to Mr Cameron’s “bunch of migrants” comments on Twitter, describing them as “shameful” and “inflammatory” and the PM as “odious”.
A Labour spokesman said Mr Cameron’s use of the phrase “demonstrates an attitude that is wholly unacceptable to a humanitarian crisis on our doorstep”.
Yvette Cooper, who is chairing Labour’s refugee task force, said Mr Cameron should use “much more statesmanship-like” language on such a “complex and sensitive” issue, particularly given ongoing commemorations of Holocaust victims.
She got to her feet immediately after Prime Minister’s Questions to raise a point of order
She asked Commons Speaker John Bercow to ask Mr Cameron to “withdraw” the comment.
The prime minister’s spokesman said ‘the government had spent £1.2bn to help hundreds of thousands of refugees in camps in the region’ and he said Labour’s approach would “open the door and provide an incentive for more to come to Calais”.
Asked if he considered the phrase “bunch of migrants” to be pejorative the spokesman said “the PM thinks that the key thing here is getting the policy right”.