Home secretary says Banksy’s Glastonbury migrant boat ‘celebrated loss of life’

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The home secretary, James Cleverly, has condemned a Banksy artwork of an inflatable boat holding dummies of migrants at the Glastonbury music festival as a “celebration of loss of life”.

The artist was confirmed to be behind the mock migrant boat being released into the crowd during a set by the Bristol punk band Idles. It was crowd-surfed above the audience during a song that began with the lyrics “My blood brother is an immigrant. A beautiful immigrant”.

Cleverly claimed it was a misplaced attempt at humour.

He told Sky News: “There are a bunch of people there joking and celebrating about criminal actions which costs lives, people die. People die in the Mediterranean, they die in the Channel. This is not funny. It is vile. It is a celebration of the loss of life in the Channel.”

Asked if the boat could have been a commentary on the Conservatives’ failure to stop the boats, he said: “Our ability to sort that problem out has been hampered at every stage by the Labour party who aspire to border control.”

He added: “They know that had they supported us, they voted over 130 times to prevent us taking greater control of our borders, the hypocrisy of the left on this issue is breathtaking and to joke about it, to celebrate it at a pop festival when there have been children dying in the Channel is completely unacceptable.”

Cleverly also accused Keir Starmer of using “dog whistle” tactics by targeting people arriving from Bangladesh in comments last week.

In a Sun debate last Monday the Labour leader prompted a backlash in the Bangladeshi community when he said: “At the moment people coming from countries like Bangladesh are not being removed.”

Attacking Labour’s policy on immigration during an interview with BBC Breakfast, Cleverly said: “The only intervention recently that Keir Starmer has had on this is this weird dog whistle attack on the Bangladeshi community where he’s claiming that we are not returning people to Bangladesh which was, A, not true and, B, not relevant, because the Bangladeshi community make a tiny, tiny, tiny, less than a half a per cent of small boat arrivals.”

He added: “So I know why they don’t want to talk about immigration because whenever they do talk about it, they put their foot in their mouth, and people can see through this, they are not committed to controlling our borders.”

Source: theguardian.com

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