No, this Labour MP is not endorsing 'mass migration' ahead of the U.K. general election

By: Emmi Kivi
May 29 2024

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No, this Labour MP is not endorsing 'mass migration' ahead of the U.K. general election

Source: X/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts


The Verdict Misleading

The clip is from 2015 and shows Labour MP Rachael Maskell talking about Syrian refugees, not endorsing mass migration.

Claim ID 7767ae07

The context

On May 22, 2024, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a general election would take place on July 4. In just over a month, the British people will vote to elect new Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons. The current polls indicate the opposition Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, would win the election, ending the 14-year era of Conservative rule.

A few days into the campaign, several online users shared a video of a speech by Labour Party MP Rachael Maskell with the accompanying extract: "We must keep going [with mass migration] until we really are at saturation point, because what does it matter if we have to wait another week for a hospital visit? Or if our class sizes are slightly bigger, or if our city is slightly fuller? What does it matter if things are slightly more challenging, if we have to pay a little bit more into the system? Surely it is worth it."

GB News broadcaster Darren Grimes posted the same clip, commenting, "This is what we have to look forward to. Only one day after posting, it had garnered over 740K views. Other online users re-shared the post with remarks like, "Labour set and ready to further annihilate England."

This claim was flagged to Logically Facts by ITV News.

Maskell is listed as a prospective parliamentary candidate for the general election on the Co-operative Party website. However, Logically Facts found that the original video dates back to 2015 and does not discuss mass migration. The bracketed words [with mass migration] are an added and false implication by users re-sharing the post, and the original speech does not contain those words.

In fact

The top-left corner of the viral clip reads, "BBC York," and after a a Google search of Maskell's speech, we found a Facebook video by the BBC that was posted on September 12, 2015.

The post, captioned "York Central MP Rachael Maskell tells a 'Refugees Welcome Rally' in the city 'we must keep going until we reach saturation point' she says "what does it matter if we have to wait another week for a hospital visit or if our class sizes are slightly bigger."

The video included is the same as the viral footage. 

     BBC York video of Maskell's speech on Syrian refugees, published on September 12, 2015. (Source: Facebook)

We also found an article by the Daily Express headlined, "Anger as Labour MP tells Government: Let's keep accepting refugees until Britain BREAKS." The piece was published on September 15, 2015. According to this coverage at the time, Maskell's speech at the rally came in response to then-U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron's announcement of a 20,000-person quota for accepting Syrian war refugees. 

Responding to the adverse reactions to the speech, the MP stated her comments were taken out of context, the Daily Express reported. Maskell stated: "I am not saying 'open the doors' and everyone can come in. It has to be part of a controlled system. I am saying that we have to do more," and calling for compassion for the refugees. 

On September 7, Prime Minister David Cameron stated in the House of Commons that the U.K. would accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years to address the influx of refugees and migrants to Europe. The Labour Party said the 20,000 quota was "inadequate," the BBC reported at the time.

The verdict

Labour Party MP Rachael Maskell's speech does not discuss mass migration. Maskell made the speech in 2015 in response to Prime Minister David Cameron setting a 20,000-person quota for accepting Syrian war refugees and asking for further action in support of the refugees. Therefore, we marked the claim as misleading.

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