Bracknell’s MP James Sunderland has been challenged for comments he made during an interview with a conservative podcast.

Mr Sunderland suggested adult refugees were pretending to be primary school children and “are in classes,” and praised former US president Donald Trump in an interview with the Conservative Renewal podcast.

But Bracknell Forest Council said no adult refugees had been placed in primary schools in the borough. And Mr Sunderland didn’t provide evidence that this had happened anywhere else in the UK.

Speaking about refugees to the podcast, Mr Sunderland said: “We’ve seen cases in the UK today where men who are clearly above the age of 18 are pretending to be primary school children and are in classes.”

But Mr Sunderland did not give evidence of this happening when asked to by Bracknell News. And the News understands the Home Office – the government department responsible for processing asylum applications – is not aware of any cases of this.

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Councillor Roy Bailey, responsible for children’s services at Bracknell Forest Council, said no adult refugees had been placed in primary schools in the borough.

He said: “There is absolutely no evidence that adult migrants are pretending to be schoolchildren and accessing primary schools in Bracknell Forest.

“We know that such claims are deeply unsettling and worrying for our parents, carers and school communities.

“Therefore, we’d like to reassure the community that we are not aware of any cases regarding adult migrants accessing classrooms on the pretence of being a child in Bracknell Forest primary or secondary schools.”

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When asked, Mr Sunderland did say that there were some cases in the UK where migrants’ ages were disputed – but did not give examples of adults pretending to be primary school children.

He said: “I work for the Home Office and see this stuff every day, which is why the Illegal Migration Act has brought in scientific age assessment. Between 2016 – 2022, there were 8000 asylum cases where age was disputed, with over 50% assessed to be adults.”

The Home Office said: “We recognise there are clear safeguarding issues if an individual lies about being a child and is placed in a school with younger children to whom they could present a risk.

“For that reason, we have strong age assessment rules on asylum seekers entering the UK and we are strengthening the age assessment process through the introduction of the National Age Assessment Board and by introducing the use of scientific assessments, such as x-rays and MRIs.”

Separately, Bracknell Labour Party criticised claims by Mr Sunderland that Donald Trump as US president was “one of the most successful for keeping the peace since 45”.

Bracknell News: A tweet by Conservative Renewal criticising police and encouraging support for a far right protest

Labour also said Conservative Renewal – co-hosted by Sandhurst Town councillor John Edwards – “engages in alt-right rhetoric, engaging in harmful messages about our police force,” and called on the Conservative Party to investigate.

They highlighted a Conservative Renewal social media post that called police “woke *******” and alerted followers to a far-right protest in London on Armistice Day.

Bracknell Conservative Party and councillor Edwards declined to comment. Mr Sunderland said Conservative Renewal is “a new podcast based in Bracknell Constituency. It takes a lighter hearted look at politics and other MPs are due to appear.”

He added: “All of my remarks, including those on Donald Trump, were entirely objective, based on fact and in context. I would urge anyone to watch it.”