THE Tories have been urged to “show compassion” over the “grotesque” removal of a children’s Mickey Mouse mural at an asylum detention centre because it was deemed “too welcoming”.

During Prime Minister’s Questions SNP MP Pete Wishart attacked the move at unit in Kent, which was ordered by Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick.

Wishart asked Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden to “look deep into the recesses of his soul” and condemn the action.

He said: “There’s some things you encounter in political life that's certain to horrify, appal or sicken you.

“But I don't think I've ever seen anything quite so grotesque as the painting over of Mickey Mouse, a children’s mural, as was done by the home office at a detention centre in Kent.

"No minister so far has roused the necessary compassion or concern to speak out about this.”

READ MORE: Home Office defends ordering the removal of a Mickey Mouse mural

But Dowden failed to criticise the action, saying: “I'll tell the honourable gentleman what real compassion looks like.

“And that means stopping the vile people smuggling trade across the Channel, condemning women and children to death.”

He said the UK Government was taking action on this with its “stop the boats bill”, adding the SNP had “shamefully” voted against it 18 times on Tuesday night.

The mural was at a Kent intake unit which is used by the Home Office to process unaccompanied children who have arrived in the UK without permission after undertaking the Channel crossing.

Meanwhile, Dowden tried to blame the rising costs of mortgages solely on Russia and covid after SNP deputy leader Mhairi Black accused the Tories of failing to heed warnings about rising costs for households.

She said mortgage rates now have surpassed the levels seen after the “disastrous” mini-budget from former Prime Minister Liz Truss.

“How high do they need to go before he and his Government takes it seriously?” she added.

Dowden responded: “The honourable lady knows, people around the world know, that the driver of higher mortgage rates is higher inflation.

“Higher inflation is caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the post-covid supply chains.

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“But what we have to do is make sure we halve inflation. It is only by getting inflation under control that we will be able to get mortgage rates down.”

But Black went on: “The Bank of England predicts mortgage payments will rise by at least £500 for a million households.

“The Prime Minister says that people need to hold their nerve, the Chancellor said just last night that mortgage holders should just shop around.

“Speaking of his own party the member for South West Devon said if the circus doesn’t stop by Christmas, it’s over.

“Does the Deputy Prime Minister understand that people can’t afford to wait until Christmas and that they need help right now?”

Dowden replied: “The fundamental thing we have to do is to halve inflation, that is an approach that the IMF ‘strongly endorses’, because higher inflation drives higher mortgage rates.”

Meanwhile Alba MP Kenny MacAskill pressed Dowden over what help the UK Government would be giving with fuel bills in the coming months. 

He said: "Scottish Ambulance Service statistics showed an increase in hypothermic call outs of over 30% across Scotland last winter and a staggering 84% in the north in December.

"While fuel costs have fallen slightly, food and other costs have risen exponentially.

"To end the perversity of energy rich Scotland’s seeing one-third of Scots in fuel poverty and literally freezing, when will the Government bring in a social tariff to ensure that the poor and vulnerable can get through this winter without calling out the ambulance service because they are freezing?"

Dowden said the Government was exploring the "best approach" to consumer protection from April 2024 as part of "wider retail market reforms".

He added: "I would just reiterate that this winter we paid half of energy bills in Scotland – that was thanks to the strength of our Union."