Immigration minister Chris Philp got into a frosty exchange with ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s after announcing a new plan to tackle migrants crossing the English Channel.
Mr Philp told the creators of Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Baked Alaska to “stick to ice cream” after they tweeted about migrant crossings.
He travelled to Paris on Tuesday to seek stronger enforcement measures as Border Force continued to deal with crossings along the south coast of the UK.
More migrants have arrived in the UK on Wednesday – the ninth day in a row.
Speaking after the meeting in Paris, the minister would not comment on details of the plan but said there were a “number of measures, some of them new, which are under discussion”.
He said both countries had “renewed and reaffirmed their absolute commitment to make sure this border is properly policed and this route is completely ended”.
He then became involved in the exchange with Ben and Jerry’s on Twitter.
The frozen dessert giant’s official UK Twitter account wrote: “Hey @PritiPatel we think the real crisis is our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture.
“People wouldn’t make dangerous journeys if they had any other choice.”
They’re “fleeing” France, which is safe, civilised & has a good asylum system. Last year the UK made 20,000 asylum grants. We are the only G7 country to meet the 0.7% aid target & have run the largest refugee resettlement scheme in Europe over the last 5 years. Stick to ice cream https://t.co/hPFWpmiXsB
— Chris Philp (@CPhilpOfficial) August 11, 2020
Mr Philp responded: “They’re ‘fleeing’ France, which is safe, civilised & has a good asylum system.
“Last year the UK made 20,000 asylum grants. We are the only G7 country to meet the 0.7% aid target & have run the largest refugee resettlement scheme in Europe over the last 5 years.
“Stick to ice cream.”
At least 12 migrants arrived at the port of Dover in Kent on Wednesday morning aboard Border Force boat Eagle.
They were helped ashore by officials in masks and fluorescent jackets and led up a gangway.
Border Force vessels continue to be active in the English Channel with more small boats expected later on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters in Dover, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said: “With all the tough talk and with it happening every day it’s becoming a bit of a national humiliation
“Until people know that coming via this route they will not be allowed to stay, they will just keep on coming.”
He also defended the use of the word “invasion” to describe the migrants arriving in the UK by sea.
“I said in April I thought there would be a summer invasion, by which I meant a very large number of people illegally landing on our beaches now.
“As it is, some land on beaches but most get picked up before. I think it’s a pretty reasonable use of the word, yes.”
Lawyers representing asylum seekers who arrived in the UK by crossing the Channel on small boats have launched legal action to halt their deportation, which is due to take place on Wednesday.