This week I took part in a Parliamentary debate about the UN’s call for the creation of more safe and legal routes for refugees fleeing war and persecution.
The world is experiencing the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. Syria’s horrific civil war and ongoing violence in Afghanistan and Iraq has forced millions from their homes. But it is it is poorer countries like Lebanon and Jordan that have taken the vast majority of these refugees. In contrast, developed countries like Britain should be doing more. In the debate I again backed calls for Britain to step up and accept a greater share of refugees, saying:
I represent the city of Sheffield, which was the country’s first city of sanctuary, making a positive statement that we welcome those fleeing persecution and war. That network has now spread across many towns and cities. Does she accept that the Government are out of sync with public opinion on this issue? Although there are genuine concerns about migration that need to be addressed, the public are in a different place on the refugee crisis caused by the Syrian civil war. We should be increasing the numbers currently settled under the vulnerable persons relocation scheme. Although the Prime Minister is right to focus on those on the frontline to avoid the necessity for them to make terrible journeys across Europe, we should also bear some responsibility for all those who have already made that journey.
This is an issue I have followed closely. I have repeatedly called on the Government to provide more safe and legal routes for people to reach safety and have written about how we need a European solution to the refugee crisis. In December I organised an appeal for Syrian refugees that raised almost £7000 and work closely with local groups supporting asylum seekers and refugees, like Assist and City of Sanctuary.