Sajid Javid just got owned by Britain’s biggest foodbank

Sajid Javid
Fréa Lockley

Home secretary Sajid Javid just got owned by Britain’s largest foodbank. This came as he faced criticism over comments about refugees and asylum seekers who risk their lives by crossing the English Channel to seek safety in the UK. As the Newcastle West End Foodbank asked: why is the rising number of people forced to use foodbanks in the UK not seen as a “major incident” too?

“Major incident”

On 28 December, Javid declared a “major incident” in response to people who were intercepted after they tried to reach the UK by boat. He later questioned whether the asylum seekers were “genuine” refugees. On 2 January, Javid was accused of “breaking international law” after questioning the asylum status of the people trying to reach safety in the UK.

Newcastle West End Foodbank is the UK’s largest foodbank. It highlighted both Javid’s hypocrisy and the damaging legacy of eight years of Conservative-led policy:

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.

As the Trussell Trust reported, “more people than ever” were forced to use foodbanks in December. The Newcastle foodbank helped “more than 46,000 people” in 2018 alone – a year when foodbank use in the UK rose by 13%. These statistics don’t include data from a further 801 independent food banks around the UK. As The Canary has also reported, the impact of austerity alongside the rollout of Universal Credit is devastating and has forced more people to use foodbanks.

“Deeply concerning”

The Refugee Council called Javid’s comments “deeply concerning” and pointed out that it’s impossible to ‘pre-judge’ asylum applications. Its Director of Advocacy Dr Lisa Doyle said:

Let us not forget that we are talking about people who are in desperate need of protection, having fled countries with prolific human rights abuses… we are hearing time and again that the conditions in France do not make people feel safe, with migrant camps being razed from the ground and people experiencing violence from the authorities.

It also pointed out that people have “a right” to seek asylum:

As Labour’s David Lammy stated, the Geneva Convention protects this right:

Many people compared Javid to Donald Trump:

The Green Party’s Jonathan Bartley accused Javid of using the refugee crisis as a “political game”:

Meanwhile, other people went even further:

Yet leading Tories including health secretary Matt Hancock and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt supported Javid’s position.

So the tweet from the Newcastle West End Foodbank absolutely nailed it. Because Javid’s comments about refugees show just how sickening this entire Tory government really is.

In November, Philip Alston – the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights – concluded an investigation into the impact of austerity and rising levels of poverty in the UK. He confirmed that poverty is a “political choice” of the ruling Conservative Party. And the fact that millions of people continue to suffer under austerity is a truly “major incident”.

Yet now, in what seems like a desperate attempt to divert attention away from the utter chaos of Brexit, Javid’s gone one step further. His latest attack on some of the most vulnerable people is not only potentially illegal, but it’s also truly twisted.

Featured image via Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Wikimedia 

Since you're here ...

We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.

The Canary Support