Migrants: 956 rescued by Italian Navy boat 'Fregata Euro'

Galloway condemns callous government over Mediterranean deaths

    “This government has blood on its hands,” George Galloway said today. “In the last fortnight we have seen the reported deaths of over 1,300 migrants in the waters of the Mediterranean, in the last days up to 800 may have perished. There can be no doubt that if this ConDem coalition hadn’t pulled out of the European search and rescue mission which plucked so many out of the waters then many of these tragic migrants would be alive today.”

    He continued: “That decision and the consequences will go down in infamy. When it was announced that we would stop contributing to the Italian-led rescue mission the Minister of State at the Foreign Office, Baroness Anelay, to her shame, said that funding it might help ‘pull’ migrants into attempting crossings. What a barefacedly callous and despicable thing to say. And plain wrong as the spike in drownings has shown. I hope she can sleep at night.”

    The former Bradford West MP also turned fire on Labour and Ed Miliband in particular. “Miliband was an enthusiast for bombing Libya and supported to the Tories in setting fire to the country and bringing about the carnage and sectarian divisions which ensued, and from which these boat people are fleeing,” Galloway added. “Will my Labour¬† opponent Naz Shah come out and say that was a catastrophic mistake which has precipitated this horrendous and continuing disaster?”

    Galloway also urged his Conservative opponent George Grant to join him in calling on the government to reinstate funding for the joint mission. “Mr Grant worked in Libya where so many of these migrants are coming from so I would hope that he would divorce himself from his government on humanitarian grounds and to put pressure on David Cameron to stump up to help the Italian navy’s operation which has to cover 27,000 square miles of the Med.”

    He also denounced the comments from Ukip leader Nigel Farage who said he opposed any EU action on migration policy, claiming it would lead to ‘waves of millions’ of immigrants from Africa.¬† “My Ukip opponent Harry Boota was in the navy so he’s uniquely qualified to appreciate the problem and I call on him to say now whether he believes our government should be helping the Italians in this lifesaving mission or whether he’s content to leave these desperate people to the waters of the Mediterranean.”

    Galloway pointed out that he was only one of two Members of Parliament to raise a motion at the time condemning the government decision to pull out of the Mare Nostrum rescue mission.

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