Lily Allen has hit back at the “media barrage” against her after she apologised on behalf of Britain for the country’s treatment of child refugees in Calais.
She attacked unspecified newspapers’”xenophobic narrative” but admitted she was not surprised at being criticised for highlighting the plight of many unaccompanied minors.
“I’m not surprised at all. In fact I accepted it,” she told LBC’s James O’Brien when papers spoke of the “online backlash” against her.
The Daily Star’s front page described Allen as a “sobbing luvvie”, while the Daily Express suggested she was spoilt. The Sun headlined a page on her visit: “Maybe they could stay in your lovely £2m pad, Lily?”
”What they seem to have picked up on is I apologised on behalf of the nation, but it was an emotional moment I was affected by,” Allen said on Thursday.
“Perhaps I could have chosen my words better and said: ‘I apologise for the part the country I come from has played in the situation you’re currently experiencing’ - but that was what I said and has been picked up on.
She added: “It is being used to support the xenophobic rhetoric and narrative that we are currently experiencing, especially in the mainstream press.”
“People are outraged, quite rightly, they’re experiencing some horrific cuts and austerity in this country. I don’t berate those people for having this kind of opinion, they’re being fed a lie by the media.
“There are desperate people in this country, but it’s not refugees that are the problem, it’s this government.”
Allen also said despite her negative press coverage she had done her job to raise awareness of the situation in Calais.
A group of Conservative MPs earlier this month penned an open letter to Theresa May telling the government it “could do more” to help vulnerable child refugees.
They pointed to the “heartbreaking” death of a 14-year-old boy, who died in the Calais migrant camp when he fell off a truck while trying to reach the UK.
“He had a legal right to be with his brother,” they wrote, “but having waited for months in wretched conditions for the process to work, he took fate into his own hands with devastating consequences.
“He had travelled thousands of miles to find his family and his journey ended in tragedy twenty miles from our border.”
The MPs, including home affairs select committee interim chair Tim Loughton, said they were “heartbroken” by the scenes of children living alone in tents, living in fear and “at risk of losing their lives”.