Tories go to war with ice cream company over criticisms of Priti Patel

PUBLISHED: 09:06 12 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:31 12 August 2020

A Ben and Jerry's van at a festival. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA.

A Ben and Jerry's van at a festival. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

The Tories have gone to war with ice cream brand Ben and Jerry’s after it took aim at home secretary Priti Patel for her stance on asylum seekers crossing the English Channel.

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The ice cream company used Twitter to attack the home secretary, who has set the Navy on those attempting to enter the UK by taking the journey from France to England in small boats.

In a Twitter thread, Ben and Jerry’s UK Twitter account tweeted Patel, saying: “Hey @PritiPatel we think the real crisis is our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change and torture.“

Sharing news articles, it tweeted why the home secretary was wrong with her stance.

They explained: “People wouldn’t make dangerous journeys if they had any other choice.


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“The UK hasn’t resettled any refugees since March, but wars and violence continue. What we need is more safe and legal routes.”

They added: “People cannot be illegal. And, it is enshrined in the 1951 Refugee Convention that crossing a border ‘illegally’ should not impact your asylum claim.

“‘Stronger’ borders aren’t the answer and only puts more lives at risk.“

It continued: “Let’s remember we’re all human and have the same rights to life regardless of the country we happen to have been born in.

“And once more for the back: PEOPLE CANNOT BE ILLEGAL.”

MORE: Public thinks UK has done more than other European countries to accommodate refugees - but they’re wrong

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The comments prompted a Home Office source close to brand the ice cream “overpriced junk food”.

“Priti is working day and night to bring an end to these small boat crossings, which are facilitated by international criminal gangs and are rightly of serious concern to the British people.

“If that means upsetting the social media team for a brand of overpriced junk food, then so be it.”

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly wrote: “Can I have a large scoop of statistically inaccurate virtue signalling with my grossly overpriced ice cream, please?”

Immigration minister Chris Philp also 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.”

But Twitter criticised the Tories for focusing on the ice cream firm rather than the questions it raised.

“Imagine being more upset at ice cream, than you are about the lives of refugees,” tweeted Damon Evans.

“If you think a tub of Ben & Jerry’s is overpriced, you’re going to shit your pants when you find out how much we paid for PPE that doesn’t work...” responded satirical website NewsThump.

“This is what a corporate conscience looks like,” wrote Stan Collymore.

But Rachel Clarke reminded users: “There have been 65k excess deaths since COVID-19 hit the UK. The worst death toll in Europe. Please don’t let this confected storm in an ice cone distract you.”

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