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Wed, 30 September 2020

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Priti Patel in row with ‘junk food’ Ben and Jerry’s after attack on her stance over migrant crossings

Priti Patel in row with ‘junk food’ Ben and Jerry’s after attack on her stance over migrant crossings

The Home Secretary was attacked on Twitter by the popular ice cream brand (PA)

2 min read

Priti Patel has become embroiled in a row with ice cream brand Ben and Jerry’s after it took aim at her stance on migrants crossing the English Channel.

The popular frozen food seller used a series of tweets to attack the Home Secretary, whose department has vowed to reduce the number of people making the perilous journey from France to England in small boats.

But a source close to Ms Patel told the BBC she was content to upset a “brand of overpriced junk food” in her response to the issue.

More than 4,000 people have successfully made the journey to the UK via boat this year, and British ministers have this week held talks with French officials amid claims France should be doing more to prevent people making the crossings in the first place.

Boris Johnson has meanwhile promised to look at overhauling the UK’s laws assigning responsibility for asylum seekers, currently set by the European Union’s Dublin regulations.

But the Ben and Jerry’s UK Twitter account said: “Hey @PritiPatel we think the real crisis is our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture.“

In a thread aimed at the Home Secretary, the brand shared articles from the Guardian, HuffPostUK, and Tribune and said: “People wouldn’t make dangerous journeys if they had any other choice. 

“The UK hasn’t resettled any refugees since March, but wars and violence continue. What we need is more safe and legal routes.”

They added: “People cannot be illegal. And, it is enshrined in the 1951 Refugee Convention that crossing a border ‘illegally’ should not impact your asylum claim.

“‘Stronger’ borders aren’t the answer and only puts more lives at risk.“

Urging Ms Patel to meet organisations such as Refugee Action, the ice cream purveyor said: “Let’s remember we’re all human and have the same rights to life regardless of the country we happen to have been born in. 

“And once more for the back: PEOPLE CANNOT BE ILLEGAL.”

But a Home Office source said: "Priti is working day and night to bring an end to these small boat crossings, which are facilitated by international criminal gangs and are rightly of serious concern to the British people.

“If that means upsetting the social media team for a brand of overpriced junk food, then so be it."

And Foreign Office minister James Cleverly said: "Can I have a large scoop of statistically inaccurate virtue signalling with my grossly overpriced ice cream, please?"

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