Bob Geldof criticises George Osborne over refugee crisis as he hands him GQ Man of the Year Award

Geldof said he had no choice but to address the 'elephant in the room'

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The Independent Online

Bob Geldof took his opportunity to blast George Osborne for the British Government's response to the refugee crisis when he presented him with a GQ award on Wednesday evening.

The singer and activist had criticised the inaction over the thousands of Syrian refugees arriving on Europe's shores earlier this week, branding the situation an “absolute, sickening, f**king disgrace”. Geldof also joined a number of key figures, politicians and members of the public offering their homes to refugees and urging the Government to accept a quota as the devastating humanitarian crisis worsened.

On Wednesday, Geldof began his speech by paying tribute to the Chancellor as a “radical” politician who loved his job and Machiavellian reputation.

“I can’t introduce this radical politician, whichever side of the barrier you are on, without addressing the elephant in the room here tonight, and that is what’s happening over in the Mediterranean, in the Middle East and in Europe," said Geldof.

"I don't want to ambush you, George, we talked about it on the phone yesterday, but the government's response is inadequate. And it can't be a numbers game.

"I don't understand how you say 20,000 [refugees] over 5 years. I don't know how that works out. It has to be a game of empathy and kindness. I genuinely believe that given your track record of 0.7 per cent with country behind you, you could probably do a lot better on that issue.”

 

Mr Osborne responded by addressing Geldof as Dylan, a joke that failed to draw any laughs, before suggesting Geldof should have received his prize for the attention he had drawn to the plight of refugees and his humanitarian activism.

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