Refugee Crisis: 'How many families have you put up?' Angry guest clashes with Julia Hartley-Brewer

Refugee Crisis: 'How many families have you put up?' Angry guest clashes with Julia Hartley-Brewer

A refugee camp at the Greek-Macedonian border

Monday, April 18, 2016

The debate surrounding the refugee crisis reached new heights on talkRADIO on Monday morning as Julia Hartley-Brewer and Josephine Siedlecka became embroiled in a tense exchange that resulted in Siedlecka cutting short the interview by putting the phone down.

The conversation focused on Pope Francis' most recent 'symbolic act' in which he took home 12 Syrian refugees after his visit to the Greek island of Lesbos. The question today was whether or not this was a positive move or simply a publicity stunt from the Catholic Church.

Siedlecka, Editor of the Independent Catholic News, said: "He's brought two Syrian families to Rome [in the past] to be looked after by a Catholic charity. The Catholic Church is donating millions and millions of pounds to support refugees. I think what he [Pope Francis] did was right and that's why you're so cross, because you're probably not doing much [to help refugees] yourself.

"How many families have you put up? I had a family in my front room last week. We could all do more. They [refugees] can't all come and live here but we could take more. In the Second World War, in nine months we took 10,000 children. After the war, we re-settled 400,000 Polish people and I'm a descendant of one of those. We could do more."

When Hartley-Brewer made her point that some refugees weren't actually fleeing "from people with guns on the coast" and that many "were safe" in Turkish camps, Siedlecka emphatically responded by saying: "The camps in Turkey are providing 900 calories a day in food. Work that out, you'll lose weight very quickly on that diet.

"These are people, these aren't numbers. No one puts their child in a rubber dingy unless they think the rubber dingy is safer than land."

The pair went back and forth on the issue until Siedlecka had finally had enough, abruptly ending the call live on air.

Listen to the exchange in its entirety and let us know your thoughts on the move by Pope Francis.