UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton has been taken to task by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford for his 'deliberately inflammatory comments' over the Penally Camp situation.

Mr Hamilton said that both the UK and Welsh governments had failed the people of Pembrokeshire over the use of the camp for asylum seekers, who he described as 'illegal immigrants' and not entitled to asylum as they had latterly arrived from other countries in the European Union.

Responding to the Mid and West Wales Senedd member's comments, Mr Drakeford said it was  “the utterly insensitive handling of the Home Office lies at the route of the difficulties that are being experienced, and that’s where the responsibility begins and ends."

And he reminded Mr Hamilton:

“These are not dumped illegal immigrants, they are human beings, with a right to a life every bit as much as he has, or anyone of us in the Senedd has either.”

Speaking in 'virtual' plenary, Mr Hamilton commented: “The Welsh Government, quite rightly, protested to the UK Government that a disused army camp in a small village like Penally is an unsuitable place to dump 140 illegal immigrants from the shores of Kent. However, their protests seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

“They are more likely to be listened to if they worked at building good relations with the UK Government rather than being confrontational and obstructive, as they were over Brexit.

“The Welsh Government has compounded this problem by its virtue-signalling policy of Wales as a ‘nation of sanctuary’ for illegal asylum seekers.

“It seems that the UK Government has simply taken the Welsh Government at its word in Penally. Because of their poor relations with each other, both governments have failed the people of Pembrokeshire.”

Mr Hamilton, who joined one of the recent protests outside the camp gates, added: “The Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru voted in the Senedd to make Wales a 'Nation of Sanctuary' open to all-comers. The community of Penally did not vote for mass immigration or migrant camps on their doorstep.

“It should be noted these people are not asylum-seekers but economic migrants and the law says asylum seekers must seek refuge in the first safe country they enter.

“They all come here from other EU countries, so they are not entitled to asylum in the UK.”

In response, Mr. Drakeford said that he entirely rejected Mr. Hamilton’s ‘deliberately inflammatory words’. He added: 

 “It’s utterly unacceptable to me he should try to smear people who through no choice of their own find themselves being moved to deeply unsuitable accommodation.

“The Welsh Government has attempted throughout to influence a decision that is entirely in the hands of the UK Government, to influence it so that setting is not used, and if it is to be used, then the services are there to make sure that the individuals who are housed there can be properly looked after, and that the legitimate concerns of the local community are properly addressed.

“The Welsh Government will speak up for people who find themselves in that position, because we are a nation of sanctuary and will go on being a nation of sanctuary - and that extends not just to people who we happen to like, but it happens to be for people whoever they are and wherever they come from.

"And that is the difference between the philosophy of my party, and the sort of stony-hearted view of the world that the member continually parades in front of us whenever he has the opportunity."