Scottish affairs spokesperson Jamie Stone has today marked Refugee Week with some sage advice for Theresa May...
I am proud that the Lib Dems stand up for the rights of refugees, pushing for the Government to allow more refugees a safe haven in Britain and to allow for family reunification for unaccompanied child refugees.
Theresa May’s Government has failed to uphold the UK’s commitment to child refugees with just 220 children being accepted through the Dubs Amendment, which was originally meant to welcome 3,000 and the Tories continue to push a hostile agenda when it comes to refugees.
One of the most truly shocking policy choices of the UK Government has been its disregard for the lives of refugee children. And as things stand, it’s not getting any better. None of the Tory leadership candidates battling it out to be our next Prime Minister has committed to even this most basic of allowance. I wonder if they would support this course of action were it one of their children unaccompanied at the border?
There are simple steps that the UK Government could take to help those who have made it to Britain stand on their own feet.
Right now in Europe, thousands of child refugees are surviving in camps and on the streets. In conflict zones, children’s lives are at constant risk. A commitment to welcome 10,000 over 10 years would give these children lasting hope of reaching safety and a meaningful alternative to risking their lives on lorries, dinghies and in the hands of traffickers.
My colleague Christine Jardine has tirelessly campaigned for the rights of asylum seekers to work and support their families. Her Private Members bill would help people to put food on the table and play a part in our society. She has already secured assurances from the Home Secretary that he will look at the merits of this compassionate bill. Denying it would be, as Christine rightly points out, cruel and undignified.
If Theresa May wants any kind of legacy, she should act now to champion kind, sensible and compassionate policies such as these before she departs office.
As a nation we must do more to welcome and support those fleeing conflict and persecution. Refugee week reminds us that this is an international issue and that refugees flee violence persecution and war from all over the globe. During this week we should be highlighting the work our country can do with others to help these victims. Yet at the same time so many of us are watching the Conservative leadership race with baited breath, wondering how far the drawbridge will be pulled up and which unelected leader will pull it up.