A would-be leader of UKIP has been accused by Jeremy Paxman of having “no compassion” after she backed physical checks for migrants claiming to be children.
Appearing on ITV’s political programme The Agenda, she faced immediate criticism from fellow guest and broadcaster Paxman, who boomed: “Do you have no compassion?”
Suzanne Evans, who is standing to replace Nigel Farage, also said Parliament did not vote to bring young men to the UK from the Calais ‘Jungle’ who “buy razors and shave”.
The confrontation follows newspapers claiming some child refugees - permitted fast-track entry after MPs backed the so-called Dubs amendment - were actually adults.
A series of clashes followed after Tory MP David Davies called for dental checks to determine the age of child refugees coming into the UK - prompting criticism from ex-footballer Gary Lineker, who in turn faced a backlash led by The Sun newspaper.
Asked by presenter Tom Bradby whether she backed dental checks, Evans said:
“We have children in this country who are languishing in children’s homes who can’t find foster homes who can’t find adoptive parents - they are there having their lives destroyed and we are taking in grown men from the ‘Jungle’.
“I think that’s absolutely wrong and I think as a matter of principle - I know its very difficult to check someone’s age - but we had a vote in parliament of the Dubs agreement to bring in child refugees from the Jungle and they did not vote to bring in men who are clearly not children - who need to buy razors and shave.
“And I think the British people are really angry about that. We are a compassionate nation and we want to help kids.
“If we didn’t have such uncontrolled immigration perhaps we could take more. How dare we bring in people who are really not the people in most need.”
Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan described her stance as “shameful”, but Evans responded:
“If you would be happy to have some of those men in a classroom with young children then shame on you frankly.”
In response to Paxman’s criticism, Evans said:
“Of course I have compassion. How dare you accuse me of not having any compassion. Just because I can see a system is being abused here.”
“I suggest that we take children that we know are genuinely children from refugee camps from war-torn areas where they desperately need our help - not so-called children who have travelled through five safe countries and are already in a safe country and have decided for whatever reason they want to come to Britain.”