EVESHAM’S MP Nigel Huddleston has claimed it is ‘unfair and untrue’ that anyone who voted against resettling 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees in the UK ‘doesn’t care.’
The Mid-Worcestershire MP voted against a Labour amendment to the Immigration Bill which attempted to force the Government to allow thousands of unaccompanied Syrian child refugees, who have already reached Europe, to be allowed into the UK.
Instead Mr Huddleston backed the Government’s approach to take the most vulnerable children from camps in Lebanon and Jordan- with ministers claiming it will discourage refugees from making dangerous journeys across Europe.
“The absolute priority should be to help those refugees in most danger and wherever possible to reunite children with their families,” Mr Huddleston told the Observer.
“The amendment had its merits, but I believe the approach set up by the Government provides the best way to support both our European partners and to focus help on the most vulnerable in the conflict region, while not encouraging more parents to put their children’s lives at risk by making the dangerous sea crossing to Europe.
“On balance therefore, I voted for the Government’s route and not the amendment.
Mr Huddleston also defended the Government’s record on supporting refugees displaced by the war in Syria; by highlighting the £2.3billion the UK has committed to help ease the crisis.
“I’m glad the government is now taking further action on top of the significant aid package already committed,” he added.
“£2.3billion has already been committed by Britain to help people displaced by the Syrian crisis making us the largest donor in responding to this humanitarian crisis.
“The Government has already announced plans to resettle 20,000 refugees during this parliament.
“It has also announced the establishment of a new resettlement scheme focused on those most at risk in the Middle East and North Africa and inevitably the majority of these will be children from Syria.
“It is unfair and untrue to argue that the government or anyone who voted against the amendment doesn’t care about the plight of refugee children.
“Everyone in parliament cares about the horrible situation in Syria no matter which political party they are a member of.”