I have been heartened to receive a large number of letters, emails and phone calls from constituents urging the Government to do more to help the plight of refugees fleeing to Europe. I agree with their sentiments.
I first raised the issue of Syrian refugees in Parliament in November last year and I was dismayed to be told that the UK had, at the time, only resettled 50 vulnerable refugees. In the following months I continued to challenge the Government on their refugee resettlement policy as well as the number of people resettled. The questions I have asked on this issue over the past year can be found here: link
I am proud that Mayor Anderson has stated that Liverpool will take in 100 refugees. Our city has a proud history of welcoming people seeking asylum. In the 1930s, local campaigner Eleanor Rathbone, MP for the Combined English Universities, established the Parliamentary Committee on Refugees and warned of the need to take in Jews fleeing Nazi Germany. It is vital that we continue that important tradition.
The Prime Minister has announced that the UK will accept 20,000 refugees over five years. In Syria alone, four million people have fled the country and another six million have been internally displaced. I have urged the Prime Minister to do more as part of an EU initiative.
It is not just Syria that is facing a large scale humanitarian crisis; turbulence in counties such as Libya, Eritrea and Yemen is causing misery to millions of people. I have consistently raised the crisis in Yemen in the House of Commons, pressing the Government on issues such as humanitarian aid and granting asylum to Yemeni refugees. The questions I have asked in Parliament on Yemen can be found here: link
We are facing the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. The UK must act now to provide assistance, as part of a European response, to the vulnerable people who need our help and enable them to become part of the UK’s diverse community.