Nick Robinson Warns Tory MP Of 'Drawing Wrong Conclusions' From Clapham Attack

Robert Jenrick argued that the attack reflects badly on the UK's asylum system.
Robert Jenrick was interviewed by Nick Robinson on the Today programme
Robert Jenrick was interviewed by Nick Robinson on the Today programme
BBC Radio 4/Getty

Nick Robinson put it to Tory MP Robert Jenrick that he was in danger of drawing the “wrong conclusions” from yesterday’s alleged alkali attack in London.

Police are currently searching for Abdul Shokoor Ezedi, the man accused of throwing a “corrosive substance” at a woman and her two young girls near Clapham Common earlier this week.

According to BBC reports, Ezedi was originally from Afghanistan and reached the UK on a lorry in 2016. He was allegedly granted asylum a few years later, after twice having his application refused.

The incident in south London has therefore generated a conversation about potential flaws in the Home Office’s asylum programme.

But, speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Friday, Robinson argued: “There’s a danger, isn’t there, from drawing from this case, the danger that it’s implied that lots of asylum seekers are criminals – whereas the vast, vast majority are not.

“That it is implied a lot are sex attackers – whereas the overwhelming majority are not.”

The BBC reports that Ezedi was convicted in 2018 of “sexual assault/exposure” and received a suspended prison sentence including an unpaid work order.

He was discharged from probation supervision once that was completed in 2020.

He was then granted asylum on his third application in 2021 or 2022, after he said he had converted to Christianity. That meant he could be in danger if he went back to Afghanistan.

Addressing Jenrick, Robinson continued: “To be fair, you made all these points before this case and we invited you on the programme, but in highlighting this case, is there not a danger that you draw the wrong conclusions?”

Jenrick resigned as immigration minister in December because he believed the bill to deport “illegal” asylum seekers to Rwanda did not go far enough.

He told Robinson: “You’re right to say that we shouldn’t jump to conclusions, and I would expect the home secretary to conduct a detailed review of what has gone seriously wrong in this case and to be put that information in the public domain.

“You’re also right to say that the majority – the vast majority claiming asylum – are law-abiding individuals.”

However, Jenrick said these kind of issues arise when people enter the country “illegally” because it means “we know absolutely nothing about these people” and some may be dangerous.

The backbencher also claimed the courts are “extremely sympathetic” and “naive” when it comes to handling these cases.

He said refugees should only come to the UK on planned programmes, such as the Syrian and Afghan schemes.


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