Priti Patel was crabby – and who could blame her? Channel boats, the crisis that had ravaged her Department for many months, has just turned into a major humanitarian emergency.
While the Home Secretary might not be considered one of life’s most cuddly bunnies, her exasperated terseness when answering MPs’ queries yesterday was a sign that she isn’t one.
It was clear she wanted to get rid of her parliamentary duties. She shuffled back to work as fast as possible. The questions that bothered her led to a lot of tongue clicking, rolling of the eyes, and a murmur under the breath.
She was most often bouncing on her feet, giving a sharp response before the questioner could even close their eyes.
Although the Home Secretary is not one of life’s most cuddly bunnies, she displayed a particular exaggerated level of terseness yesterday as she responded to MPs’ questions
Following Wednesday’s tragic incident in which 27 drowned trying to get to Britain by inflatable boat Britain, she was present in the Commons.
Priti stated that while the event was shocking, she did not consider it surprising. Priti didn’t express it quite this way but gave the impression she believed that most responsibility for the catastrophe lay with France.
According to our sources, Patel had called Gerald Darmanin in France before arriving to request that British troops be sent to France for patrolling the coast.
It was evident that it wasn’t a productive call from her by her annoyed tone at the dispatch line. “Non madame,” was certain to be the refrain.
Nick Thomas Symonds, responding for Labour, seems to have undergone a bit more of an overhaul.
Formerly a Parliamentary scruffbag, the Shadow Home secretary is now smarter, more professional, and has lost a bit of his stomach. Here the spin doctors allowed to speak with him?
Priti Patel, a member of the Commons, was present to make a statement after Wednesday’s tragedy in which 27 drowned trying to reach Britain by inflatable boat Britain.
Thomas-Symonds was not a troublemaker for Priti. He will often jump on Priti and accuse her of incompetence. Then he’ll order her to grab a handle and do the rest. Labour is in a difficult area with the migrant boat problem.
Traditional supporters would be offended if the government made it more difficult for immigrants to reach Britain.
The Hampstead ladies would be upset if Border Force was made more difficult. Starmer and his crew seem to be happy to dodge this issue whenever they can.
But not for the Scot Nats. Martyn Day (Linlithgow) stroked his Captain Birdseye beard and demanded the Government allow more ‘safe routes’ – and forget that this would encourage even more people to come here.
Patel looked confused. Day’s tone she found ‘disappointing. Maybe Day should have been more involved in the debates. Maybe he would be able to grasp the arguments better.
Priti had to show more bite for the grey haired Conservatives. They demanded that the boat owners be pushed back more. They demanded that asylum claims be handled offshore.
Sir Edward Leigh (Conservative, Gainsborough), urged Priti not to allow human rights lawyers to prevent failed asylum applicants being deported.
Priti stated that while the event was a “dreadful shock”, but it left her with the clear impression she believed the French had most responsibility.
Bambos Charalambous, Labour’s Immigration spokesman, spluttered as he spoke and then shook his head. What was Mr Charalambous’s occupation before he entered politics? Funny, that: Lawyer.
The minister was reading the statements with a queasy air. A maskless Jeremy Corbyn (Ind Islington N) was at the rear. He sat by himself, cut off from his colleagues. Having the Labour whip withdrawn has wounded him – and it shows.
The ex-leader bobbed around in an attempt to attract the attention of Nigel Evans (Deputy Speaker).
He called the Government and asked them to focus on the real causes of the migration crisis, which he said were poverty, climate change, and war. One or two Labour members gave the banished leader’s words a polite ‘hear hear!
Brendan O’Hara, SNP, Argyll, made a complaint towards the end about how the BBC covered Wednesday’s tragic event. The News at Ten referred to the victims as “migrants”.
‘Migrants don’t drown,’ O’Hara declared. ‘People drown!’ Patel asked for a conversation with Beeb regarding its language.
Priti was not convinced. There are other pressing matters at the top her intray.