Glaswegian politicians have hit back at Nigel Farage after the right-wing commentator said Friday’s knife attack showed the danger of “illegal immigrants”.
The former UKIP and Brexit Party MEP tweeted: “Horrible tragedy in a Glasgow hotel housing illegal immigrants. All over the UK, hotels are filling up with young men who are coming across the Channel every day.
“It is a massive risk to our wellbeing — yet the government does nothing.”
However, in reality the Park Inn hotel where six people including a police officer were stabbed has been housing asylum seekers and refugees, who have a legal right to be in the country while their claims are considered, not illegal immigrants.
The Home Office moved hundreds of asylum seekers and refugees into hotels at the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown in an effort to suppress the spread of the virus.
Anas Sarwar, a Labour MSP for Glasgow, replied to Mr Farage on Twitter, saying: “Seriously Mr Farage. Don’t use a tragedy in our city to spread your fear and hatred.
“Glasgow has seen your kind before and always sent a united message- ‘get yerself tae f…!’”
Another Labour MSP for Glasgow, Pauline McNeill, also accused the English Brexiteer of exploiting the tragedy for political purposes.
“This has made me very angry, they are some of the most desperate individuals […] trying to survive in hotels during COVID were seeking asylum,” she replied on Twitter.
“They don’t want to be in those hotels in the first place. Don’t you dare use our City to spread your hatred.”
A Glasgow City councillor, Eva Murray, also joined the backlash online: “Away back under your rock Nigel & take your far-right bs with you! Refugees & Asylum Seekers will always be welcome in our city, unlike you.”
Earlier she has tweeted how seeing people using the stabbing to “spew their vile racist rhetoric makes me sick”.
Scottish National Party councillor Alan Casey quoted Mr Farage’s tweet and simply added: “This is absolutely disgusting.”
Police Scotland have confirmed they are not treating the attack at the hotel as a terrorist incident and the only suspect involved was shot dead at the scene by armed officers.
Humza Yousef, the SNP Justice Minister and MSP in Glasgow, said that the far-right was trying to capitalise on anything to whip up anger and fear.
“The incident in Glasgow is not being treated by Police as terrorism. Depressingly yet predictably some are using horrific incident to further their far-right agenda. Glasgow won’t stand for your divisive hatred, so don’t even try it.”
Since leaving the European Parliament when the UK finally quit the EU in January, Mr Farage has regularly re-emerged to make attacks on asylum seekers and migrants.
In June he repeatedly tweeted about alleged illegal immigrants landing on the south coast, describing them as “on the run across Kent”, “overwhelming”, and “preparing for an invasion”.
In May he claimed he had been visited by police officers and warned not to breach the Covid-19 lockdown after he made at least two trips to the coast to “report” on the so-called “illegal migrant scandal”.
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