I am shamed by the response of the UK Government to the escalating refugee crisis.
We need action now to tackle this humanitarian crisis and that means that we should welcome people into our country, help them get back on their feet and then decide whether they are able to pursue a claim for permanent residence. It is shocking that we are only offering sanctuary to a few hundred refugees when we should be welcoming tens of thousands as part of a European wide effort to cope with the crisis.
Unfortunately immigration policy is a matter reserved to the UK Government and not one on which the Scottish Government has much influence. However, SNP policy is absolutely that Scotland and the UK need to be doing much, much more in terms of providing sanctuary to desperate people who have been displaced by events in Syria and the wider Middle East. Indeed, Nicola Sturgeon articulated this point very well during First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament today. Tomorrow Nicola is hosting a round table discussion with organisations including the Scottish Refugee Council to discuss what further action the Scottish Government can take to support those refuges seeking safety in Europe.
My SNP colleagues at Westminster and I will be pursuing this matter vigorously with the Conservative government when the UK Parliament returns from recess next week, seeking to make common cause with those in other parties who share our humanitarian instincts. The scale of human suffering demands that we take far more people than the paltry number to whom the Tories are currently prepared to offer refuge. We also need to be clear that those fleeing war torn countries are not migrants but refugees and most importantly, fellow human beings. The depth of public outrage over this is clear with over 165,000 signing the petition to parliament to accept more asylum seekers and increase support for refugee migrants in the UK.
Well said Tommy
It is absolutely shocking that we fail to take responsibility for so many people who are suffering, I can understand the political class down south who are reluctant to leave themselves open to charges of being soft on immigration, however we need to put party political point scoring aside and look to see how we can help.
Is there a way we can offer temporary shelter in our homes that could circumvent the current restrictions?
Set it up like a humanitarian version of AirB&B? say the Scottish Syrian Accord where we people could sign up to take in refugees and help look after them whilst they apply for refugee status and residence.
I dont know but hopefully the discussions tomorrow between Nicola and the Refugee Council will draw out some practical proposals that will help.
Four weeks ago I was worried about writing this column on the eve of the last major parliamentary debate on Brexit. Anything could have happened, rendering my speculation obsolete by the time you read it. I shouldn’t have fretted. Anything could have happened but nothing did.
Here I am again. Groundhog day. It’s Tuesday. There’s a big debate tomorrow.
Tuesday. Another day spent discussing Brexit. Another day of my life I’m not getting back.
We are no further forward. As the clock ticks down to exit it’s only fair to ask: What the hell is Theresa May playing at?