Yesterday’s revelations — unearthed by the Mail’s brilliant investigative team — that corrupt immigration lawyers are charging up to £10,000 to lodge fake asylum claims make for sobering reading.
One of the ‘legal advisers’ investigated, VP Lingajothy, explained how by concocting a horrifying tale of sexual torture, beatings, slave labour, false imprisonment and death threats, he would ensure his client’s claim succeeded. He even offered to supply antidepressants and a friendly doctor to support evidence of ‘psychological trauma’.
Another, as we reveal today, told our undercover reporter that the tedious process of claiming asylum would be much accelerated if he ‘found a girl’ and ‘arranged a marriage’ — even though getting married for immigration purposes is illegal when the relationship is bogus.
The investigation paints a dispiriting picture of greed and corruption that shames the legal profession. It also exposes the flaws in Britain’s immigration system, which is making a mockery of our human rights legislation and inevitably makes it harder for those genuinely fleeing persecution to find sanctuary here, and to win the public round to their cause.
For let us not forget who the real victims are: the people who truly need our help but who — thanks to the work of rapacious vultures like Lingajothy clogging up the system with spurious asylum claims — may find their cases are left in limbo.
It is shameful that they should face uncertainty while others simply buy their way in thanks to crooked lawyers.
Image from undercover footage shows Vinnasythamby Lingajothy offering anti-depressant medication to an undercover reporter which he said the journalist could show the Home Office as evidence of his ‘psychological trauma.’
Given all that, you might have thought these revelations would have caused national uproar. That the story might be popping up on news bulletins and discussion shows, that charities supporting refugees would be making statements, that the great and the good of the liberal elite would be fizzing with righteous indignation.
Well, in some respects they are. Only not as you might expect.
Yesterday evening, after almost an entire day of radio silence from the Bar Council, its Vice Chair Samuel Townend KC issued a statement in response to a tweet from Rishi Sunak praising this paper’s investigation.
‘The comments by the Prime Minister,’ said Townend, ‘are clearly an attempt to play politics with the legal profession. This damaging rhetoric undermines the rule of law, trust in lawyers and confidence in the UK legal system and is to be deplored.’
Er, no. What’s actually ‘undermining the rule of law, trust in lawyers and confidence in the UK legal system’ is the scandalous behaviour of individuals such as Lingajothy. Indeed, the fact that Mr Townend even thinks such a statement might constitute an appropriate response only indicates the scale of the problem.
But elsewhere . . . tumbleweed. At the time of writing, the BBC was leading on Elon Musk’s rebranding of Twitter.
And on that website, not a peep from the usual suspects.
Silent were Gary Lineker, who earlier this year was briefly suspended from his BBC presenting duties after he compared the Government’s policy on asylum-seekers to Germany in the 1930s, as well as A.C. Grayling, that weird fox-killing Jolyon fellow, and all their cronies, normally so keen to unsheath their virtue-signalling swords in defence of asylum seekers.
SARAH VINE: ‘Yesterday’s revelations that corrupt immigration lawyers are charging up to £10,000 to lodge fake asylum claims make for sobering reading’
Why so? I mean, here we have a group of people growing rich (Lingajothy put his son through Eton) thanks to dodgy and possibly illegal asylum claims, thus making it harder for genuine refugees to start a new life in Britain. Isn’t that about as low as is gets; arguably as low as the trafficking gangs who bring people to our shores in the first place?
Where is the howl of rage from the Left? Where are David Lammy, Diane Abbott, Keir Starmer? Surely they can’t all be washing their hair?
The answer is simple. The liberal Left isn’t interested in this sordid tale of corruption because it doesn’t fit their narrative. The truth — that is to say the actual truth rather than the subjective, one-sided viewpoint that often passes for truth now — is what you might call ‘inconvenient’.
It doesn’t chime with their worldview — which is that anyone who believes in controlled immigration is a nutter or a Nazi, and that immigration lawyers are courageous saints saving people’s lives in defiance of the evil Tories.
Instead, this story offers concrete proof of the opposite: that not all asylum-seekers are genuine; that corruption does exist; that people can and do lie and buy their way into Britain at the expense of real refugees; and that, as the Prime Minister himself has pointed out, ultimately the Government is right to try to crack down on illegal practices surrounding immigration.
It also shows that the public, and in particular those often-vilified people who dare to express their concerns about uncontrolled migration — and are characterised by lofty liberals as knuckle-dragging grunts and bigots — might just have a point.
Of course, there’s nothing new in those who are driven by their own peculiar tribal ideologies turning a blind eye to awkward facts. Just look at the way Tom (now, preposterously, Lord) Watson persecuted the late Leon Brittan and Lord Bramall over ludicrous allegations of a Conservative ‘paedophile ring’ in Westminster.
Or consider how the Rotherham grooming gangs were allowed to operate unchecked for years because the authorities were paralysed by political correctness. Those are just two random examples: there are countless others.
People interpret the truth as it suits them, as we’ve seen with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who, to garner sympathy for their cause, painted a picture of the Royal Family that may have been ‘their’ truth, but which certainly wasn’t the whole truth.
Recollections may vary, as a wise Queen once said.
SARAH VINE: ‘VP Lingajothy (pictured) explained how by concocting a horrifying tale of sexual torture, beatings, slave labour, false imprisonment and death threats, he would ensure his client’s claim succeeded’
But whereas before there were limits to how far the facts could be distorted before someone sensible stepped in, in a world dominated by social media — where accusations rarely have consequences and where facts are often indistinguishable from opinion — truth is no longer empirical.
Reality is irrelevant: it’s a matter of interpretation. We are, it seems, living in a post-truth world.
ASYLUM CLAIM Q&A
Who is entitled to claim asylum in the UK?
Those unable to live safely in any part of their own country because they fear persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other social, cultural, religious or political situation that puts them at risk. They must also have failed to get protection from authorities in their own country.
Are solicitors allowed to submit an asylum claim they know to be false?
No. The Solicitors Regulation Authority says its members must act with ‘honesty and integrity’ and not ‘mislead or attempt to mislead’ a court, tribunal or regulator.
What are the legal penalties for fake asylum applications?
Immigrants face two years in prison or being ordered out of the UK if they give false information on an asylum application. Solicitors do not face any criminal penalty but those found to be acting dishonestly could be struck off.
Can a woman have a penis? Objectively, no. But if you’re an opportunistic politician with all the backbone of a jellyfish (Starmer), then the answer is yes. It’s also ‘yes’ if you’re a convicted rapist who doesn’t much fancy doing time in a man’s prison: like ‘Isla Bryson’, aka Adam Graham, who was outrageously incarcerated for a time in a Scottish women’s jail.
Similarly, according to the BBC, Nigel Farage had his Coutts bank account shut down because he was broke, not because his political views didn’t match those of the bank’s Department of Woke. (Auntie and NatWest have since apologised for this fantasy.)
Boris Johnson did not nearly die of Covid, despite ample evidence to the contrary and the testimony of the doctors and nurses who treated him, because it suits some people to believe it was all a stunt designed to manipulate the public. That’s the claim of a documentary by arch-Remainer Marcus Ball, which also included an interview with Lineker.
When told that Ball made this allegation, Lineker was clear that he did not endorse it and quickly distanced himself from the film, but not before he appeared in a (truly terrible) trailer for it.
The issue applies to everything, from climate change to sex scandals. Are the wildfires in Rhodes the dawning of the Apocalypse — or did someone just fail to put out their barbecue? Your guess is as good as mine. These days, the right answer is whatever you believed already.
But truth is not just important, it’s sacred. Without truth there can be no trust, and without trust we exist in a heightened state of paranoia and anxiety.
Which probably goes some way towards explaining the mental-health epidemic fuelled by social media. People no longer know who or what to believe, and it’s slowly driving us all mad.
That’s why it’s so important for organisations and individuals in positions of authority to respect the truth, however unpalatable. And why it’s so damaging when, as in the case of these lawyers, they don’t.