Most Britons support Denmark-style law to take valuables away from refugees

The move has been compared to Nazi Germany - yet it is supported more in the UK than in Denmark itself

Adam Withnall
Wednesday 03 February 2016 12:04 GMT
Dave Brown's cartoon on Denmark's law
Dave Brown's cartoon on Denmark's law

The majority of people in Britain would support controversial measures to take valuables off refugees arriving in the country, following similar moves to do so in Denmark.

Danish politicians passed a new law at the end of January which allows border officials to seize cash and assets from would-be asylum seekers to help pay for their stay.

Opponents said the law amounted to a “symbolic move to scare people away”, while the UN warned Denmark risked “fuelling fear and xenophobia”.

But according to a new YouGov poll, 54 per cent of Britons would either support or strongly support a similar law in the UK.

Only 8 per cent of respondents said they strongly opposed the idea, which has been compared to the Nazi-era policy of stripping valuables from Jews.

And bizarrely, the policy was actually much more widely supported in Britain than it was by people surveyed in Denmark itself. According to YouGov, of 1,002 Danes surveyed 39 per cent opposed their own new law, while 38 per cent supported it.

In an indication of how opinions have shifted in Germany in recent weeks, more than 60 per cent of people there said they would be in favour of taking away refugees’ valuables. Just 18 per cent of Germans opposed such a move.

Of seven European nations surveyed, Sweden was the country where people where most likely to be against such a law – 44 per cent opposing it, versus 41 per cent supporting.

Before it was passed, the Danish prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen described the proposals as “the most misunderstood bill in Denmark’s history”. The Danish government confirmed body and luggage searches would be carried out, but said refugees would be left enough belongings for a “modest” standard of living.

The YouGov survey also revealed that immigration and asylum was the top issue cited by the most Britons as “the most important facing the country”.

Almost 60 per cent of Danes named immigration as a major issue – more than in any of the other countries surveyed.

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