In the last few weeks it’s been my privilege to meet with members of Manchester’s Syrian community, who have established the Rethink Rebuild Society to provide a voice for Syrian people and campaign on Syrian issues.
They have produced a thoughtful and interesting policy document with a set of proposals for British domestic and foreign policy, which I’ll post a link to when the finalised document is published.
One of the proposals is to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees to the UK through the Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme.
It’s time for us to do this.
The desperate situation faced by the Syrian people has been brought into focus by the heartbreaking scenes we have witnessed in recent days. We now face probably the most serious humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. It’s time for the UK to step up and show compassion and leadership on this issue, because the response by our country and by most EU countries has so far been insufficient. We must take our share of people who are fleeing the most desperate circumstances in the hope of nothing more than safety and a decent life for themselves and their families.
I’m pleased that senior Labour figures are speaking out on behalf of them (http://www.yvetteforlabour.co.uk/letter_to_david_cameron) because the response of David Cameron yesterday was woefully inadequate. Yes, of course we need to stabilise the situation in Syria and work for a long term solution. But we can’t wait for that to happen, because this crisis is happening now.
When parliament returns next week, Labour will be raising the issue at the first opportunity, and calling for the government (with the help of Councils) to take concerted action to address the issue.
I’m supporting calls for the UK to step up and take responsibility, and to take a fair share of people looking for our help.
I’d urge people to sign the following petition to parliament calling for action on the crisis.
Rethink Rebuild are holding a protest in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, tomorrow (Friday 4th), the details of which are here
This country has a long record of supporting people fleeing war and persecution. Now is a time to continue that proud tradition.