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18th Aug 2021

Tory MP slammed for ‘vile’ comment about Afghans “queueing at the airport”

Charlie Herbert

Tory MP accused of lack of humanity over Afghanistan comment

Desmond Swayne’s comment was met with shouts of “disgrace” from across the Commons.

Tory MP Desmond Swayne has been branded “vile” for suggesting that people fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover were wrong for doing so.

MPs were recalled to Parliament on Wednesday for an emergency sitting over the crisis unfolding in Kabul and how the UK should best respond to help the Afghan population.

As members from across the house gave their views, Swayne intimated that people who fear for their lives were wrong to be “queuing at the airport” and should be offering some resistance.

His comments were met with outrage from other MPs, including Labour leader Keir Starmer.

Labour MP Charlotte Nichols said Swayne’s remarks were “absolutely vile”, adding that the “lack of humanity is staggering”.

Another Labour MP, Yasmin Qureshi, said: “Anyone else disgusted by what Desmond Swayne just said in the House?”

Swayne, a former international development minister, had interjected when Starmer was speaking, asking: “Were the government of this kingdom to be overthrown by a wicked and brutal regime, I venture that he would want a leading role in the resistance, he wouldn’t be queuing at the airport would he?”

Starmer replied that he would not “take that” from Swayne or “anybody else”, pointing out that when he was director of public prosecutions he had members of staff working in Afghanistan “at huge risk working on counterterrorism with other brave souls there.”

During the debate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that it was an “illusion” to think the UK alone could have prevented the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan after the US withdrawal of its troops.

Related links:

UK to accept 20,000 Afghan refugees following Taliban takeover of the country

Ex-marine refuses to leave Kabul without his animal rescue staff

‘No one saw this coming’ says Secretary of State who was on holiday during Taliban takeover