Ken Loach slams Theresa May’s ‘brutal’ stance on child refugees in Bafta speech
Many stars applauded the impassioned rhetoric, but a Tory MP in the audience was less keen.
There was never any doubt that Ken Loach would give the government a kicking in his acceptance speech.
In the event, the acclaimed left wing director went for it on two fronts – laying into the “callous brutality” of the benefits system and then telling the audience that the same approach was evident in the government's attitude towards refugee children.
The director of I, Daniel Blake – which depicts a man from Newcastle struggling to cope with Britain’s welfare system - collected the BAFTA for Best British Film
He appeared to use the platform to rebut accusations by some that his winning film failed to reflect reality, before moving on to the Tory government’s apparent U-turn on its promise to accept thousands of unaccompanied children fleeing danger in Syria and elsewhere.
Loach stated: "Thank you to the academy for endorsing the truths of what the film says, which hundreds and thousands of people in this country know, the most vulnerable and poorest are treated by the Government with a callous brutality that is disgraceful, a brutality that extends to keeping out refugee children we promised to help and that's a disgrace too."
"Films can do many things, they can entertain, terrify, they can make us laugh and tell us something about the real world we live in - sorry it's early for a political speech - and in that real world it's getting darker and in the struggle that is coming between rich and poor and the wealthy and the privileged and the big corporations and politicians who speak for them."
"The rest of us on the other side - filmmakers know which side they are on and despite the glitz and glamour of occasions like this, we are with the people."
The speech was applauded by many in the audience, but one Conservative MP who had been invited to the event was less impressed.
Tim Loughton, the former children’s minister who supported Andrea Leadsom to be Tory leader, called the speech “drivel” and stated on Twitter that it was his least favourite part of the evening.
The Tory MP was then lambasted by Labour's Andy Burnham, who tweeted: "Tory in a bow-tie on a lavish freebie has his night ruined by being reminded how the other half live."
Speaking at the press conference afterwards, Loach went further, saying that the government “have to be removed”.
Meanwhile screenwriter Paul Laverty sought to draw attention to the UN’s ruling on the UK’s treatment of disabled people and he claimed that the Tories had “denied, spun and tried to discredit” the findings.
Laverty argued that the Tories “don’t give a toss” that “16,000 people were admitted to hospital last year with malnutrition”.
He added: “We have a moral obligation to do one thing, and that’s get rid of them.”