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The UK's immigration minister Robert Jenrick is at the centre of a storm for ordering the removal of children's cartoons from the wall of an asylum centre. News agencies say Mr Jenrick instructed staff at the Kent Intake Unit to remove murals of Disney characters that were there to soothe asylum-seeking children. The Unit looks after and processes child migrants who are unaccompanied by parents. The BBC said Jenrick reportedly believed the art sent a message that the UK was "too welcoming". A government spokesperson said: "Our priority is to stop the boats and disrupt the people smugglers." One of the UK government's top five priorities is to stop the arrival of asylum seekers on "small boats".

British artists have responded to the removal of the art by offering their services to redecorate the Unit. The celebrated British illustrator and cartoonist Guy Venables has enlisted other high-profile artists to create works of art that are welcoming for highly distressed child refugees. Mr Venables told The Art Newspaper: "I've offered to repaint the mural…in the refugee centre." Venables was "baffled" that the original murals were painted over. He called it a "display of astonishing, pointless cruelty". He said his artwork might make Jenrick "think twice about vandalising several professional national cartoonists' work just to deny a vulnerable child something fun to look at."



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