David Cameron has faced an immediate backlash after he dismissively described refugees fleeing war in squalid camps in Calais as "a bunch of migrants".
Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Cameron ranked Jeremy Corbyn's visit to refugee camps in northern France with political issues such as the Falklands and the unions.
Mr Corbyn met women with emaciated children and victims of torture when he went to Calais and the less well-known but "far worse" camp of Grande-Synth near Dunkirk.
On Wednesday lunchtime, the Prime Minister responded to questions from Mr Corybn on the tax deal signed with Google this week and whether or not more could have been taken by HMRC.
He said: "The idea that those two right honourable gentlemen would stand up to anyone in this regard is laughable.
"Look at the record over the last week, they met with the unions and gave them flying pickets.
"They met with the Argentinians and they gave them the Falkland Islands.
"They met with a bunch of migrants in Calais they said they could all come to Britain.
"The only people they never stand up for are the British people and hard-working tax-payers."
David Cameron: "Corbyn went to Calais & met with a bunch of migrants". "A bunch of migrants"? Really, Prime Minister? Really?? #PMQs— Stewart Wood (@StewartWood) January 27, 2016
David Cameron during PMQs refers to refugees in Calais fleeing war torn countries as "a bunch of migrants" . Completely out of touch.— Ronnie Cowan MP (@ronniecowan) January 27, 2016
David Cameron attacking Corbyn for having compassion for Refugees in Refugee Camps. actual wow. Actual WOW!!! #PMQs— Shlomo Anker (@Hapoel4) January 27, 2016
"Bunch of migrants." Jesus. #pmqs— Hugo Rifkind (@hugorifkind) January 27, 2016
The PM refers to "a bunch of migrants" in Calais at the Dispatch box just now. Inflammatory and unbecoming of his office. Shameful #PMQs— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) January 27, 2016
PM barks "he (corbyn) met a bunch of migrants at Calais". He met terrified unaccompanied kids in danger of exploitation. Dispassionate PM.— Ian Murray (@IanMurrayMP) January 27, 2016
Will an MP take the chance to rebuke Cameron for "bunch of migrants" comment? #PMQs— George Eaton (@georgeeaton) January 27, 2016
Some backbench MPs shouted back "bunch of migrants?!" in apparent shock.
Yvette Cooper, Labour's former shadow Home Secretary, said she has raised a point of order calling for him to withdraw the "divisive, not statesmanlike" comment.
Andy Burnham, the current shadow Home Secretary, said: "Once again, Cameron's mask slips. He just dismissed desperate people fleeing conflict as a "bunch of migrants" - on Holocaust Memorial Day."
David Cameron's biggest controversies
David Cameron's biggest controversies
A book released by Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft alleged that an MP and Oxford contemporary of David Cameron had allegedly seen a photograph of Mr Cameron performing a sex act on a pig while at university. Downing Street did not comment on the allegations and the peer said they could have been a case of mistaken identity
David Hartley/REX Shutterstock
2/8 ‘Swarm’ of migrants
In July 2015 David Cameron referred to refugees coming into Europe from the Middle East and North Africa as a “swarm”. He was criticised for using the language, which critics said was dehumanising
3/8 Child tax credits
In April 2015 David Cameron was asked whether he’d cut child tax credits. “No, I don’t want to do that,” he said, saying that he rejected reports that he would. Shortly after the election the Government unveiled cuts to child tax credits
4/8 Cycling to work
As leader of the opposition David Cameron was regularly photographed cycling to work. In early 2006 he was photographed cycling but with a driver in a car carrying his belongings. It was suggested at the time the cycling was just for show and that having two vehicles on the road instead of one was wasteful
5/8 Andy Coulson
David Cameron employed former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as government communications director from 2010. After stepping down from the post due to coverage of the phone hacking affairs, Mr Coulson was later found guilty of conspiracy to intercept voicemails. He served a short prison sentence
6/8 His personal windmill
Early in his leadership of the Conservative David Cameron made an effort to change the party’s image by making eco-friendly gesures. As one of these gestures, the future PM put a wind turbine on his house. However, the turbine later had to be removed after neighbours condemned it as an eyesore and the council’s planning committee said it had been put in the wrong place
7/8 Funeral selfie
David Cameron was pictured posing for a ‘selfie’ with Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Some in the press criticised the prime minister for showing in an inappropriately low level of respect for the gravity of the occasion
8/8 Eating a hotdog with a knife and fork
The Prime Minister was pictured eating a hotdog with a knife and fork in the run up to the 2015 general election. He was accused of being “posh”. “I had a very privileged upbringing... I've never tried to hide that,” he said
The Government is currently considering proposals for Britain to take a few thousand additional unaccompanied refugee children, above and beyond the 20,000 the UK will take over this Parliament.
But the comments were particularly charged on Wednesday given the background of Holocaust Memorial Day, with the Second World War seen by many as the last time Europe faced a refugee crisis on this scale.
Cameron very wrong to talk of "a bunch of migrants" in #PMQs. Divisive, not statesmanlike. Raised point of order calling on him to withdraw— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) January 27, 2016
Once again, Cameron's mask slips. He just dismissed desperate people fleeing conflict as a "bunch of migrants" - on Holocaust Memorial Day.— Andy Burnham (@andyburnhammp) January 27, 2016
"A bunch of migrants". His comment on the Holocaust are just lip-service to decency. You judge a man by how he talks about his own times.— Ian Dunt (@IanDunt) January 27, 2016
Outrageous language by Cameron on Holocaust Memorial Day at #pmqs. Calling refugees in Calais 'bunch of migrants', calculated and malicious— Cllr Tamoor Tariq (@TamoorT) January 27, 2016
One second the Prime Minister is honouring victims of the Holocaust and the next calls desperate refugees a 'bunch of migrants'— Liam Young (@liamyoung) January 27, 2016
Despicable "bunch of migrants" comment from PM today, such disdain for people fleeing the horror of war. On Holocaust Memorial Day. #PMQs— Mohammed Ansar (@MoAnsar) January 27, 2016
Later on in the Prime Minister's Questions session, Mr Cameron was pressed on the issue of Saudi Arabia's apparently indiscriminate air strikes in Yemen, in a conflict which is creating new refugees every day to fuel the crisis.
Mr Corbyn urged the Prime Minister to launch an inquiry into British arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing a "very disturbing" new UN report into international law breaches in Yemen.
Mr Cameron insisted that "we have the strictest rules for arms exports [of] almost any country anywhere in the world".
"And let me remind him we are not a member of the Saudi-led coalition, we are not directly involved in the Saudi-led coalition's operations. British personnel are not involved in carrying out strikes," he says.Reuse content