Tom Slater Tom Slater

Why don’t Tories like Gillian Keegan want to talk about asylum?

Gillian Keegan (Credit: Getty images)

Does the Tory party have a death wish? It’s a question we have been prompted to ask again and again over recent years, as the supposed natural party of government has self-immolated before the electorate’s eyes. But if an interview with education secretary Gillian Keegan on Sky News over the weekend is anything to go by, the answer is an emphatic ‘Yes’. 

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Last week’s horrific alkali attack in south-west London has exposed a dysfunctional asylum system that no sane person could support. That the Afghan national Abdul Ezedi – the man suspected of disfiguring a mother and her two children in Clapham on Wednesday – had two rejected asylum claims and two sexual offences under his belt before he was granted leave to remain has appalled people across the political spectrum. Anyone with a pinch of humanity and common sense knows this man should never have been allowed to stay here if he went on to commit this life-changing assault.

But the Tory front bench are apparently not so sure. On Sky News yesterday, Keegan told a baffled Trevor Phillips that this shameful case ‘is not really about asylum’. ‘We don’t want to have people in this country who have criminal records’, she welcomely conceded, ‘but in this particular case he was granted [asylum]’. When pressed, Keegan continued to ignore the asylum issue and said that, whenever any ex-con reoffends, ‘rightly, everybody always asks: how did that happen, what can we learn from that?’.

We already know how it happened, Gillian.

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