4.39 pm

Drew Hendry (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey) (SNP): Before I start, I would like to say to the hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham), who bemoaned the comparison between what we are doing here and what is happening in countries such as Germany and Sweden, that competition sometimes breeds excellence. If we are in a competition to be better humanitarians and to deal with the issue in a better way to be better human beings, I am glad to be in such a competition.

The overall tone of today’s debate has been very good and constructive. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Moray (Angus Robertson) for setting that tone across the Chamber today, which reflects the mood of people in the wider part of our communities across the countries of the United Kingdom.

I noticed that the Prime Minister opened his statement on Monday by continuing the rhetoric that we are “facing a migration crisis”. It still tends to come through that we are somehow still in this crisis. That is not the case, as this is a humanitarian crisis. The seminal and harrowing image of a little boy washed up on a shore in Turkey was mentioned earlier. It shocked and stunned not only the constituents whom I represent, but constituents across Scotland and across the nations of the UK. Sometimes an image of just one person brings the focus and clarity that politics simply cannot serve. The people in our communities know that this is not a migration crisis; they have seen a human image—one image that illustrates the many.

In his statement, the Prime Minister put a number on the refugees who we would welcome to these shores—20,000 people over five years. We have rehearsed the benefits or otherwise of using numbers, but the Prime

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Minister said this morning that there would be “no limit” within the 20,000 for this year. In that case, let us review right now what we can do to accommodate people in desperate straits now. As we sit in this Chamber, more than 6.5 million children are fleeing bombs, persecution, devastation and despair in war zones, and over 350,000 refugees have already crossed the Mediterranean this year, risking life and limb. To provide some context for the 20,000 figure, 17,036 people is the most recent estimate of the number of refugees who have drowned trying to make it to Europe. Around 20,000 is the number of refugees welcomed to Germany—not in five years, but last weekend!

I cannot provide an exact number of my constituents who have already been in touch to offer help and to ask for my support. Why not? Because it has risen to many hundreds, and it is showing no sign of stopping. Constituents such as John and Claire from Inverness have told me that the image highlighting the tragedy of this human crisis haunts them when they close their eyes. It was that image that made them contact me, to offer not only their spare room, but their caravan, their time, their money and, most of all, their humanity. For others, it has been the reports of countless drownings of the tired and desperate or of people crushed and dead at the back of a lorry, having been prepared to do anything in the hope of escape and a chance of life. Sometimes, it is simply the scene of a smashed Syria, showing the scattered debris of life in a landscape of utter destruction—places from where any possibility of hope has been smashed by bombs—that affects people.

These isles have a history of offering children and families refuge from extreme crises, but we also have a darker history of people born and making their lives here being forced to find sanctuary on foreign shores. Although a recognition of the changing public perception is welcome, the Prime Minister’s response is not yet enough to satisfy my constituents, and I am sure that many in this Chamber and beyond will have a similar story to tell. We can find inspiration in times from these isles’ history that speak of the generosity and kindness of our people, suggesting that the numbers do not lie.

Some of those episodes were rehearsed yesterday, when Members talked of the 100,000 French Protestants who fled persecution. There were also the tens of thousands of Russian Jews, about whom we heard earlier today, and the more than 200,000 eastern European Jews who found refuge here. We offered sanctuary to 10,000 Kinder- transport children: several Members have given that great example, and we have heard many stories of personal contact today. After the conflict in Europe we welcomed 300,000 Poles, and in the 1970s, more than 42,000 Ugandan Asians. They, too, could not have waited for five years.

It is at times like these that my constituents ask me why there is such a lack of ambition, such a short call on humanity. To them, all that is required is for our ambition to match the scale of the challenge at hand. They have not lacked ambition or shirked the challenge; they have shown leadership. In my constituency, volunteers from groups such as CalAid Badenoch are out and about collecting donations for the refugees. As well as accepting deliveries to schools, churches, private businesses and village halls, volunteers are out collecting donations from people’s homes. Our communities have pulled together and shown solidarity with the refugees. They have

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not faltered; they have done what is needed, and what is right. I ask the Government not to hide behind the five-year window. Helping our fellow human beings in a crisis is not to be done with a drip-feed. The Prime Minister said “no limit”, so let us see that delivered.

The hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) has made a sensible point a couple of times in the Chamber when she has issued a plea for money and support for councils throughout the United Kingdom to help them prepare. Councils are already doing their bit, and others are preparing to do so. I too call for leadership, and support the hon. Lady’s call for funds to help local authorities to act.

In Germany, Angela Merkel said that the Federal Government would contribute €6 billion for new shelters, extra police and, crucially, language training in 2016. They see this humanitarian crisis as an opportunity to build for the future, to make the refugees welcome as part of the wider community, and to draw on their skills and talents as an opportunity for the future of the German economy. We should not have to look to Germany for an enlightened view or, indeed, for competition. We could have such a view here, with the right will. We need to stop lagging and dragging. This is an opportunity for us to lead.

SNP Members understand the Prime Minister’s view that we need to tackle the root causes of the crisis. We support the aim of aiding stability, and any sensible measures to attain that. However, we cannot ignore our responsibility for the thousands of refugees in Europe who are seeking sanctuary now—not over the next five years, but now. This most human of crises is not playing out over years; it is playing out over days and hours, and it is on the minds of those at the sharp end every minute of every day.

Although the bar has been set at a high level by countries like Germany and Sweden, who have imposed no restrictions on numbers, I do not expect that we will follow their lead in its entirety. However, there are things that we can and must do. The First Minister of Scotland has said that Scotland will take her share, starting with at least 1,000. That is a figure for now. Spending on aid is welcome, but it does not deal with the crisis today. We need an approach that involves a short, a medium and a long-term plan for rebuilding.

I call on the Government to stop investing in razor wire, and to think of a better way of dealing with those who are in desperation in Calais. Much has been made of the new command and control centre, but how about simply setting up a hotspot processing centre, diverting the focus from the fences and the tunnel towards the action of helping to identify those in need, and granting access to those who are victims of this humanitarian crisis?

4.49 pm

Alex Chalk (Cheltenham) (Con): First, may I thank the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson) for the tone of his opening remarks and say what a great privilege it is to speak in a debate in which so many powerful contributions have already been made? It is important to recognise that humane and compassionate people can differ on what is the best response to a crisis of this nature. It is also worth recognising that the full consequences of the decisions that are made may not be known for many years, and therefore an element of diffidence is always appropriate.

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At its heart this motion calls for steps to be taken to increase the number of refugees to be accepted into the United Kingdom; it puts no figures on that, interestingly, but that is the broad thrust. It may be that implicit in the motion is the idea that the UK should admit the 650,000-odd, let us say for the sake of argument, which pro rata would be similar to the position Germany has mentioned, but even that gesture would be dwarfed by the scale of the crisis we face, because 11 million people have been displaced from Syria alone, 4 million of whom are refugees in neighbouring countries while the remainder are internally displaced. The unpalatable truth is that there is no sensible figure that this House can settle on that will bring a complete solution to this problem. Instead, it is our duty as a humane country to do all we reasonably can to help and to do so in a way that does not make the matter worse. I believe, respectfully, that the Government’s approach meets that challenge.

While of course respecting alternative views on this topic, one reason why I think the Government are right to proceed as they have is that we have to recognise that there may be future calls on us. That poor boy found washed up on the shore last week could just as easily have been Libyan or Afghan or any other nationality. He could have fled from any other benighted country, and refugees from those nations are no less deserving. We should make sure they are not forgotten in the course of this debate. That is important, because we must make sure that in future we are in a position to help them as well. The truth is that the middle east is unstable and it is unlikely that we have seen the end of this crisis. We must bear that in mind.

Mention has already rightly been made of the support we have given to people living in the region—and it is important to say that the SNP has recognised that effort—but I want to dwell on it for a moment. We must not forget that of the 11 million displaced Syrians, just 3%—a very modest proportion—have attempted the journey to Europe and the remainder, many of whom are not as strong or are not in a position to pay the people traffickers, have remained. By making the enormous contribution we have made—far more than any other EU country; over 10 times more than France or Italy, which have similar GDP to ours—we have helped stop a humanitarian crisis become a humanitarian catastrophe. It is through the efforts of the British people that there have been 2 million medical consultations for emergency trauma and primary health care cases and 3 million relief packages have been distributed.

That support is right for the obvious reasons, but there are three other important purposes too. First, it has ensured that aid is provided to some of the most vulnerable people—the weak, the old, the tired, the ill. Secondly, it has helped protect many minorities, including Christians, who might otherwise have found an existence in border camps very difficult. Thirdly, and almost most importantly of all, it has given those who want to stay to rebuild their country the option to do so when the time is right. Whatever we think about our country and how wonderful it is—and it is a wonderful country—the overwhelming majority of Syrians want to go back to their homes once conditions allow, and the efforts of our country will help them to do that. Crucially—the House will forgive me for pointing out something that is

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obvious—the support also provides shelter for those who might otherwise have felt that they had no option but to press on, on that perilous journey to countries further afield.

It is the measure of a country how it behaves when the cameras are not rolling and the world is not watching. While the world’s attention of the past years has flitted from one issue to another, our country has been doggedly applying itself to the task of bringing humanitarian relief where it is most needed. I am proud of the fact that, while many countries talked a good game at the Gleneagles summit back in 2005, this country, the United Kingdom, actually delivered on its pledge to spend 0.7% of GDP on international development.

In conclusion, what we see from the UK is a compassionate response from a humane country. It is a response that, as the Prime Minister has said, shows our heart, yes, but our head, too.

4.55 pm

Hywel Williams (Arfon) (PC): I congratulate my friends in the Scottish National party on initiating this important debate. I particularly congratulate the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson) on the content and tone of his excellent speech. I am proud that we are collectively spending a very large amount of money supporting people in Syria and in neighbouring countries. I am glad that we are taking in refugees. That is very praiseworthy, as far as it goes.

There is a pithy Welsh proverb: “Nid da lle gellir gwell.” My rather clunking translation is, “The good is insufficient where better can be achieved.” That is the position we are in. We are spending lots of money, but we can do better. So I say plainly that admitting 20,000 people is not enough, not least given the UK’s position and responsibilities as a world leader and as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. We should be taking in more people, and on a different basis.

I referred in an earlier intervention to how other European Union countries have decided on the total number of people that they will take in. They have used formulae that are dependent on GDP, population, the unemployment rate and applications already processed or considered. There are ways to do this. When I asked the Secretary of State for International Development earlier how we chose the figure of 20,000, she seemed to say that that was what we could support and afford with the resources that we had. The hon. Members who have spoken this afternoon have nearly all talked about the offers of help that have come from their constituents. I am sure that we can afford to take in more than 20,000, and I would impress that point most strongly on the Minister and the Secretary of State if she reads the report of this debate.

Natalie McGarry (Glasgow East) (SNP): I am enjoying the tone of the debate this afternoon. I want to draw attention to something that we have not talked about particularly, because not only are our constituents and organisations in our constituencies doing work. I have already been approached by the housing associations in my constituency, which were doing preparatory work before the Government grudgingly came to their position on Monday. I think that the hon. Gentleman would agree that that is welcome and that constructive work is

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being done by organisations that have the vast majority of the responsibility to house these people in our constituencies.

Hywel Williams: The hon. Lady makes a very good point. Unsurprisingly, yet again, the third sector is quicker off the mark than the Government or even local government. Third sector and voluntary organisations in my constituency are already preparing. I am looking forward to the opportunity of speaking in a rally in Carnarvon on Saturday, organised by local voluntary organisations concerned with Calais and the refugee crisis that we are discussing this afternoon.

We will grant entry to 20,000 people under the vulnerable persons relocation scheme, which, I understand, has already relocated 216 people. Again, I referred to this earlier in an intervention. I have three questions for the Minister. I refer to a Home Office document—the Syrian VPR scheme document—which says in respect of numbers and types of cases:

“We expect that the caseload will include families (with both parents), women and children at risk cases (i.e. single parent families—female headed) and medical cases.”

Will the same sort of criteria be applied to the 20,000? I am thinking particularly of the phrase “with both parents”. Are we expecting the 20,000 to include both men and women? The document says:

“We do not expect unaccompanied children to form part of the initial caseload”.

That was how things stood when the document was released earlier this year. Will we now take unaccompanied children? I expect that we will. The document then says:

“and if they do, these will be brought across under separate arrangements”.

What are those separate arrangements? Are those arrangements superseded by the decision that the Government have now taken on the 20,000?

The Minister for Immigration (James Brokenshire): If it might help, we are looking closely at the criteria that will be applied in conjunction with the UNHCR. Obviously, the criteria referred to applied to the vulnerable persons relocation scheme as was, but with significant scaling up and some of the Prime Minister’s comments on reflecting on how that is being done. This is precisely one of the issues that we will be discussing with the UNHCR.

Hywel Williams: I thank the Minister for that intervention and look forward to his response to my other questions about the VPR scheme. On Monday I asked the Prime Minister a question about that scheme, and said that at the request of many organisations and my constituents I had written to the Immigration Minister in July about the matter. In his reply the Minister referred to the VPR scheme, stating clearly that it

“was designed to focus on need rather than meeting a quota.”

I think that need is a good and humane yardstick. The need in the current circumstances is undoubtedly very large; indeed it is perhaps enormous. Applying need as a principle for action allows for a timely and measured response and for the use of discretion. However, the Prime Minister has announced that we will take 20,000 refugees. I am sure that those people will be in great

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need, but 20,000 seems to be a fixed number. On Monday I asked him what he will say to the 20,001st person who applies and who has a provable and legitimate need.

Angela Crawley (Lanark and Hamilton East) (SNP): A UNICEF report indicates that at least a quarter of those seeking refuge in Europe are children, and in the first six months of this year more than 106,000 children claimed asylum in Europe, up 75% on last year. The Prime Minister made assurances today during Prime Minister’s questions that Syrian children will not automatically be returned when they are 18. That is a welcome instruction, but we would like assurances because the issue will remain deeply concerning for children who come to this country unaccompanied. Can the Minister provide assurances that they will also be protected?

Hywel Williams: I will pose that question to the Minister and thank the hon. Lady—in fact, she is blessed with clairvoyance because I was going to ask that question myself.

I referred to a question that I asked the Prime Minister on Monday about the 20,001st person, and his response was disappointing. Indeed, it was either dismissive or even alarming. He said merely that we should concentrate on the 20,000—that is all he said, period. I am all for concentrating on the 20,000 to the extent of offering entry to as many genuine cases as possible as soon as possible, and not over the five years that the Government intend, but 20,000 looks to me like a quota. Hon. Members will recall what I said about my answer from the Immigration Minister and the VPR scheme being based on need and not a quota. By their very nature quotas inevitably lead to artificial and possibly brutal cut-offs, and pit one person’s genuine need against that of another as they both join the queue. I do not think that is a humane way of doing it.

The Prime Minister’s reply suggests to me either that he and his colleagues have not thought the matter through, or that they have done so and are reluctant to engage with the real consequences, which are not hard to imagine. For example, one can envisage a popular campaign in the press, perhaps in favour of admitting an injured child as No. 20,001. One can imagine a campaign in favour of admitting siblings or other relatives of people already admitted, or, as the hon. Member for Lanark and Hamilton East (Angela Crawley) said, at the end of five years and the current terms of the VRP scheme, a campaign not to send a young person who has thoroughly adopted a British identity back to a strife-ridden country. One can imagine the problems that will arise with that artificial cut-off. I was glad to hear that the Prime Minister is looking at this matter because it is serious and needs considering.

This is easy for me to say, but I would not have started from this point. As many hon. Members have said, one root cause of our current predicament is the Government’s reluctance to engage earlier with the UNHRC Syrian resettlement scheme, which led to the setting up of the VPR scheme in the first place. Therefore, there are some causes that we can discern, and there are ways forward.

Briefly, let me mention a couple of points from my own party’s policy on this matter. We wish to see a Welsh migration service set up to co-ordinate migration into Wales and Wales recognised as a country of refuge.

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Finally, I have a question for the Minister on the response of the Welsh Government. I hope that I will not be seen as partisan in this matter. On Monday, the hon. Member for Dundee West (Chris Law) asked the Prime Minister about the response of the Scottish Government. The Prime Minister said that

“in the letter the First Minister of Scotland wrote to me, she said that Scotland would be willing to take 1,000 refugees.”—[Official Report, 7 September 2015; Vol. 599, c. 57.]

That is very praiseworthy indeed, and we have heard that that is a starting point and not an end point. When the Minister winds up, will he tell me—or perhaps put it in a letter—whether he has had a similar offer from the Welsh Government?

5.5 pm

Suella Fernandes (Fareham) (Con): Man’s inhumanity to man is the cause of the crisis unfolding in Syria and the raison d'être for the 1951 refugee convention. It is also the legal basis of our duties to offer sanctuary to those fleeing persecution. It is the cornerstone of humanitarian protection and the source of timeless values.

We have heard many passionate speeches from all parts of the House over the past few days, but I am proud to be a member of a governing party that is delivering on its international duties in the face of such catastrophe. However, the premise of this debate and the criticism from the Opposition Benches are unjustified. This is a time not for political point scoring, but for consensus and support. Despite difficult economic conditions, this Government have stuck uncompromisingly to their 0.7% of GDP aid budget, unlike many other western countries. They are providing a threefold response, involving the Department for International Development, the Home Office and a coherent defence strategy.

What we are witnessing in all three respects is the largest ever response by this country to such a disaster. When those on the Opposition Benches argue that we are not doing our bit, or that we are not playing our part, I beg to differ. I am talking about £1 billion of aid, 18 million people fed, a Royal Navy taskforce, 6,000 people rescued from the Mediterranean and resettlement for 20,000 refugees. All those things paint a starkly different picture.

Incidentally and more widely, we can be proud of our aid record. Both the current Secretary of State for International Development and her predecessor should be recognised for their leadership. I visited Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Bangladesh with international development teams and saw at first hand how our aid has been spent on vital projects to rebuild those states, involving governance, the rule of law, and health and education, and we are maintaining that philosophy in the face of this emergency.

From the legalistic perspective, I speak with professional experience. Before coming to this place, I worked as Treasury Counsel, defending the Home Secretary in asylum and immigration cases. In the UK, we have a fair system for processing asylum claims, providing housing and support for asylum seekers and refugees, mainly in the form of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Those rules are in place to ensure fairness and legitimacy and to prevent abuse of the system. Here,

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applicants claim refugee status under our obligations in the 1951 convention and may be granted leave to remain as a step on the path to settlement. They may also be granted humanitarian protection, which can lead to indefinite leave to remain.

From a technical perspective, I have to make it clear that this Government inherited an asylum system that was in a critical condition. The backlog of 450,000 asylum cases was worrying and considerable progress has been made in shifting that burden. That 450,000 was more than just a statistic; it meant 450,000 people with a precarious immigration status in this country, 450,000 who could not take up fixed employment and whose cases still needed to be checked. The fact is that we cannot just ride roughshod over the rules in the name of compassion. The consequence is injustice and unsustainability.

Echoing the sentiment so eloquently expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Alex Chalk), let me refer to the story of my father, who fled to the UK in 1968 as part of the east African Asian diaspora. He was only 20 years old and he had nothing. He did not want to come to this country. He did not want to leave his family, his friends and his beloved homeland to be flung to the other side of the world with nothing to his name. He was granted a British passport in Nairobi and that was his way out from persecution. The UK was able to extend sanctuary to him and thousands of others because the system commanded confidence. He came here legitimately and with the knowledge that he went through a procedure that maintained its integrity.

We all agree that the crisis demands a compassionate response, but rigour, integrity and fairness are essential to enable kindness and humanity.

5.11 pm

Mark Durkan (Foyle) (SDLP): I sat through the debates yesterday and today and want to address a number of the points that have come up rather than just rely on some of the helpful and poignant briefings we have received from so many people.

One of the first things I want to do is acknowledge the tenor and content of the speech made by the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson) as well as the scope of the motion. Contrary to the attempts by the hon. Member for Gloucester (Richard Graham) and others to misrepresent it, people need to recognise that the motion clearly listened to the points that many Government Members made in yesterday’s debate, when they said that in all the focus on the refugee crisis as it is manifesting itself in Europe we should not forget the refugee crisis in the camps in some of the countries surrounding Syria or the significant commitment that the Government are making to the efforts to support people affected by conflict in Syria and elsewhere. The motion clearly does that. It attempts to achieve consensus on some of those concerns and on the valid points made by Government Members yesterday.

The most questionable point made by the hon. Member for Gloucester was when he complained that the motion

“calls for a Government report to be laid before the House by 12 October 2015 detailing how that number can be increased”

and stopped there. He forgot to say that the motion continues:

“encompassing refugees already in Europe and including a plan for the remainder of this year to reflect the overwhelming urgency of this humanitarian crisis”.

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That is the point. If those of us who have signed the motion had been saying that we wanted to see refugees who are already in Europe admitted as part of the 20,000 the Government are looking to admit over the next few years, Government Members would say that we were trying to deny people in the camps the opportunity to be part of that number. Our concern is not that people who are in the camps should not be admitted—we welcome the Government’s interest, although again we would welcome an increase in the numbers—but that we cannot ignore those who are already in Europe. It was the overtone of disqualification in the Prime Minister’s statement the other day that particularly concerned me.

In the debate yesterday and today, many hon. Members touched on what prompted so many of our constituents to mobilise and get in touch with us. A little over a week after the media were full of the photographs of the Prime Minister on a beach in Cornwall, a different beach photograph emerged in the media. It brought out those words of Seamus Heaney about something having the ability to

“catch the heart off guard and blow it open.”

That is what that photograph of Alan Kurdi did.

We heard the response from so many of our constituents and we know what the response has been internationally, but let us be clear. That photograph stirred our constituents and in turn seemed to spur the Prime Minister into altering his tone, but let us think about another Alan who might arrive on a beach or somewhere else in Europe, having survived his perilous journey, but alone and unaccompanied. What is the message in the Government’s response to that Alan? “He is disqualified. He is outside our consideration.” We even heard from the Prime Minister today that, yes, we do have to take care as to what we do with unaccompanied children and how we treat them, but being careful is no reason not to show them care and consideration, which appears to be the Government’s position. That needs to be revised, improved and altered.

I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister has had his attitudes to this long-running problem reconditioned. Remember, he was one of the leaders at the EU Council who went along with the idea that Operation Mare Nostrum was somehow encouraging people on to the seas. The line back then in autumn 2013 was, “If we run rescue operations, we will only be encouraging more people on to the seas.” At least now, thankfully, we have the Royal Navy, the Irish navy and others helping to rescue, but it took the disasters of April this year to force that rethink. The same caution from the Government Benches that we have heard in the past two days—that we have to be careful not to encourage people to make those perilous journeys—was exactly what was behind the disastrous decision in relation to Operation Mare Nostrum, which did nothing to discourage the perilous journeys and meant that people were not saved and too many lives were lost.

Mr MacNeil: The perilous journeys would, of course, be ended if people could fly. Sadly, they cannot because an EU aviation directive prevents that, which means that at four times the cost they are taking those perilous journeys.

Mark Durkan: I thank the hon. Gentleman for making that point, which is correct. We know from Amnesty and others that a cogent case has been made in relation

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to a number of deficiencies in the Schengen agreement and the Dublin regulation, which clearly need to be overhauled in the light of recent events.

I agree with so many Government Members on a number of points that they have made, not least the hon. and learned Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Lucy Frazer) and the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Nicola Blackwood). We need to recognise the scale of the whole humanitarian crisis and not concentrate just on those who are arriving in Europe. We have to meet our responsibilities in relation to those who have made it to Europe and in relation to the wider crisis.

The Secretary of State for International Development spoke of her concern not only that other countries were not matching the 0.7% aid target, but that there was a significant shortfall in so many relevant UN appeals. Some of us would say that one of the ways to deal with that is through a global financial transaction tax. Part of the aim of those of us who have supported that idea is precisely to support funding for the sort of international mechanisms and measures that are needed, rather than different UN funds having to busk around different countries trying to gather money for programmes. Although we have heard in these debates about the very good work in the refugee camps and elsewhere that is being funded through DFID and so many NGOs, let us also be clear that UN funding in a number of those camps is being reduced. The level of food aid in some of the camps is being reduced, and education support is not what it should be.

In the previous Parliament the all-party group on protecting children in armed conflict, led by Fiona O’Donnell, produced a report that drew heavily on the lessons being learned from what is happening in Syria, particularly in relation to the millions of children who have had to flee. It noted that when DFID and other organisations respond to such emergencies, in the first order of things little thought is given to education. That might be understandable, but when we consider just how long term many refugee camps have become for other conflicts—look at the Palestinian experience—we see that clearly more needs to be done. The world must respond not only to the immediacy of the refugee crisis, but to the wider lessons about the inadequacy. Obviously the convention on refugees will have to be overhauled, and so many other rules, such as Schengen and Dublin, will have to be revised.

Of course, these islands are outside Schengen. One of the things that I would like to see the UK Government do, along with the Irish Government, is convene a meeting of the British-Irish Council to co-ordinate across the devolved Administrations and with the Irish Government what the response will be across these islands in order to meet our responsibilities for accommodating refugees. That would ensure optimum co-ordination across jurisdictions and between services so that there is no fall-down, breakdown or confusion facing international agencies or domestic charities when it comes to responding. The Government might find, as a result of the information and ideas that would emerge from such collaboration, that they are in a position to reconsider the number of refugees they are taking and the time scale, not least by accommodating some of those who are already in Europe.

Let us be clear that the Government, having previously been averse to engaging with the UNHCR resettlement scheme, and then having been very dilatory in relation

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to the vulnerable persons scheme, have now moved to strike a tone of some urgency in this regard, but of course limits have been put on it—the Prime Minister appears to have put the guard up on his heart again. The Government must be prepared to do more, but those of us who are criticising them for the number of refugees they will admit or on the time scale must face the wider question about the scale of the problem in the camps, about other conflicts, not least in Sudan and South Sudan, that are driving people into refugee status, and about the need for a much bigger and longer-term response, including proper support for the UN, and a global financial transactions tax would be a good start.

5.22 pm

Tommy Sheppard (Edinburgh East) (SNP): I rise as a member of an Opposition party in this House and in support of a motion that is the collective endeavour of six Opposition parties. I ask the Government Members sitting opposite to consider the approach we are taking this afternoon. It is normally the Opposition’s job to harry and harass the Government, and even to expose and embarrass them, when they get the opportunity to do so. This afternoon we have laid aside those conventions and are not engaging in what is the normal practice in this place.

Instead, we are adopting a different approach. To use an American phrase, we are “reaching out” and trying to find a consensus with Government Members, because on this occasion our desire to see this country make a bigger contribution to the humanitarian effort that is required to face this crisis is greater than our desire to score political points. I ask the Government Members here to reflect on that and consider an appropriate response.

There are now six Conservative Members in attendance, and fewer than 30 have participated over the past four hours. I make that observation not to judge, but to ask them to reflect on whether that is an adequate level of participation and attendance, given the seriousness of the debate. That matters, because when the Division bells ring at 7 o’clock, if 300 of their number come here from their offices and other places in the Palace to vote down the motion in the Lobby, having heard neither the content of the debate, nor the tone with which it has been argued, that will do a disservice to this debate and show contempt for the point we are putting forward. That will reflect very badly on the Government, so I urge Conservative Members not to do that.

There has been much talk about the scale of this crisis, but I still think that many have not quite grasped just what we are dealing with. Since the civil war began in Syria, half the population of 23 million people have had their houses destroyed. Four million of those people are now exiled from their homeland. They are joined by 2.5 million from Iraq, 1.5 million from South Sudan, and many millions of others from other conflicts in the region. There are 9 million people in holding patterns in refugee camps in the middle east. It does not take a mathematician to know that 20,000 can be nothing but a start to tackling that problem, rather than the end point. That is why the motion asks the Government to review that figure, take time and come back in four weeks with a plan to expand it.

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Much has been said about the situation in the camps and refugees in Europe; clearly, there is a relationship between the two. The Government are right to consider the question of funding for the camps, because those organising them point to a shortage of funds. There can be no doubt that deteriorating conditions in the camps would be one incentive for people to make the journey into Europe. However, let us not pretend for a moment that well-funded refugee camps in the middle east will be the answer to the crisis that we are facing by itself, because there is a much bigger factor at play that relates to the efficacy of those refugee camps—that is, many of the people who went to them have nowhere to return to. The conflicts that created their situation show no sign of abating. In fact, it is arguable that in some areas, such as Syria, it is going to get worse before it gets better. The homes in which they lived no longer exist. Those communities—those villages and towns—are no longer there. People are now beginning to realise that if they cannot go east they will have to consider going west. That is the powerful driver now at play among the refugee populations in the middle east. Unless we seriously think that the answer to that is to build refugee camps that will hold people for a generation, we need to do an awful lot more thinking about where these people will move on to from the refugee camps.

A lot of people have already taken this decision for themselves. We might well ask what drives a person to take the risks and put themselves and their families into the conditions that we have seen. Why would you even think about getting on a dodgy boat run by a criminal gang where you probably have a one in 20 chance of you and your children drowning en route? Why would you think about being locked into a container and driven for thousands of miles across a continent knowing that you could suffocate in the process? The answer is simple: because the terror in front is not as great as the terror behind. That is why people are driven to take these incredible steps. It is disgraceful for us to get into a situation where our response to the people who have flown that terror and tried to protect their families is to say, “We will not even recognise you in our policy. You stop there, you turn round, and you go back.” As the right hon. Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz) said, that is not an adequate response to the situation. We need a policy that addresses the refugee problem in the round—the people in the camps and the people not in the camps who have now migrated to our continent.

Some Conservative Back Benchers have talked as though the game is to try to prevent the crisis from happening in Europe by containing it in the middle east. I have to say to them that the crisis is already upon us in Europe. It is not only the third of a million people who crossed the Mediterranean this year, but the many hundreds of thousands in the previous few years, that have led us to a situation where we have over 1 million refugees in European Union states looking for a home. It is simply not good enough to turn our back on our European partners and say that we will do nothing about that. We do need to do something about it. I cannot believe that the Prime Minister of this country will go to next week’s meeting of European premiers and say that this country will make no contribution to the plans that Jean-Claude Juncker announced this morning for 120,000 or more permanent resettlements of refugees already within Europe. We have to do something. As I have said, we are not here on this

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occasion to chastise or berate the Government, but to ask them to take a month to think about this problem and to then come back and lay before this House proper plans to deal with the whole situation.

Mr MacNeil: I heard from the Danish ambassador this lunchtime that last year Denmark—a country the size of Scotland—took 13,000 refugees, 4,000 of whom were from Syria. In the context of what the UK is doing, that shows we could do an awful lot more.

Tommy Sheppard: I agree completely with my hon. Friend. It is worth noting that we are talking about accepting the equivalent of 0.01% of our population as refugees in the face of this crisis, while 25% of Lebanon’s residents are refugees.

My hon. Friend the Member for Foyle (Mark Durkan) mentioned Alan Kurdi. That image moved the nation’s heart last weekend and has led to a public change of attitude in this country, which is welcome. I concur with my hon. Friend. Is our response to the people who saw that image on their television screens and in their newspapers to say that if that child had not drowned and had survived that journey, he would not be welcome here? Surely we cannot say such a thing with any decency or absence of shame.

I appeal to the Government to think about the manner in which this debate has been conducted and to reflect on and come back with expanded plans. I think that in doing so they will be commended warmly by the people of this country. I think that all of us have been surprised and humbled by the attitude of ordinary people up and down this country. As of the weekend, in just one council ward in my constituency of Edinburgh East, 27 people—probably the equivalent of more than 100 in the constituency as a whole—have rung up to say that they would house a refugee family in their own home, and that was before anybody even asked them to do that. Imagine what the response would be if the Government, local government, the Churches, political leaders and civic leaders said, “Let us rally as a nation and do something to help these people who are in such dire need.” I think that tens of thousands of our citizens would say that we welcome refugees to our country, city and home.

5.32 pm

Peter Kyle (Hove) (Lab): I thank the hon. Member for Edinburgh East (Tommy Sheppard) for his speech. I share his passion and was very moved by how he spoke with personal commitment about the plight of individuals. Many of his colleagues have spoken with great humility and humanity about the personal challenges faced by migrants. I commend the SNP for calling this debate and for allowing enough time for a detailed discussion.

I also pay tribute to the International Development Secretary. Although we disagree on many issues, including the key issue of the number of people allowed into this country, she spoke with great warmth and insight about not only the individuals she has met when visiting refugee camps, but the plight of those in crisis.

This crisis has at its core two huge challenges: war and mass migration. War is chaotic and unpredictable, and mass migration has brought these challenges to our doorstep. As we have seen, this is also a time when the best and the worst of humanity are on display.

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I was an aid worker in the Balkans and eastern Europe throughout the 1990s, and in that time I saw a lot of places impacted by war and refugee crises. I worked in Albania from 1992, which was years before the refugee crisis, and got to see at first hand a country being impacted by refugees when the Kosovan war broke out. I worked in a town called Korçë in southern Albania. In the late 1990s, when people started fleeing the murderous intentions of Slobodan Miloševic, the town took in 50,000 refugees in a single night. The population of the entire town was doubled overnight and we took part in the operation that cared for those people. It was extraordinary not only that the host town, in one of the poorest countries on our continent, responded with extreme generosity, but that the international community supported it in that endeavour. It was also interesting to see how the next-door country, Macedonia, responded very differently. We have seen how different countries on our continent have responded differently over time.

I do not want to talk in detail about those experiences, other than to point out a few lessons from my time dealing with refugees and humanitarian crises up close. The first issue that I would like to raise with Ministers is the role of the UNHCR. In my experience, the UNHCR is one of the most underfunded and overstretched humanitarian organisations, certainly within the United Nations. In one crisis that I worked in, it took three weeks before the UNHCR was capable even of deploying staff to an area that had received 50,000 refugees in a single night. When the staff did arrive, they were few in number and it took time to build the resources to get an operation up and running.

The Government are placing most of the responsibility on the UNHCR to co-ordinate the refugees who will come to the United Kingdom. I would like assurances that the Government are ensuring that the UNHCR has the right resources behind it to carry out that function with enough diligence and to make it an effective operation.

Stephen Pound (Ealing North) (Lab): It is always a privilege for the House to hear from a person with experience in these matters. We heard the Prime Minister say the other day that the UNHCR will be tasked with sifting refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. From his personal experience, does my hon. Friend feel that the UNHCR has the resources to undertake all that additional work?

Peter Kyle: I thank my hon. Friend for his comments. He has predicted something that I was about to say.

Stephen Pound: Oh, sorry!

Peter Kyle: No, I welcome that because it is an important point. I was about to say that the Government are relying on the UNHCR to sift the people who will come here, and to ask for reassurance, because this is a good opportunity for the Government to reassure the House that the UNHCR has the resources to carry out the sifting in the right way. That process is incredibly important. My experiences are a little out of date so I cannot talk about how the UNHCR operates today, but based on those experiences, I think that it is cause for concern and something that the House needs to be reassured about.

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The second issue I want to raise is the population that remains behind. When sifting happens in a refugee population, it is quite often the people with skills who are taken first. Sometimes, the population that will be left is not given due consideration. In a camp of 5,000 or 10,000 people—or even more, as is sometimes the case in the current situation—it is important that the population that remains after a sifting process has all the skills that any population needs, even more so considering that they are living in encampments that have very basic conditions. I hope the Minister can reassure the House that the UNHCR is being encouraged, on behalf of the British Government, to give due consideration to the population that remains.

The spotlight is on the generosity of the British people, because this crisis is unfolding on British soil. That brings aid work closer to home than it usually is. This crisis is challenging both abroad and at home. I do not see this as a zero-sum game. When we have said that not enough people are being welcomed to these shores, some people, particularly on the Government Benches, have pointed out that money is being given abroad. It should not be an either/or situation. The fact that we are being generous abroad should not stop us being generous at home.

Susan Elan Jones (Clwyd South) (Lab): My hon. Friend is making an impassioned speech, drawing on his great expertise. Does he agree that one striking thing about this crisis is the number of people from different sorts of communities right across the country who are being supportive? That is happening not just in the big multicultural cities, but in small towns and villages. I think of the village of Coedpoeth in my constituency, where the Plas Pentwyn centre is already organising collections. There is a massive response across our country.

Peter Kyle: I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention, because it highlights just how much generosity there is within the British public at the moment, and that should be absolutely commended. At a time when anybody can get into their car to deliver aid to people in need, we must ensure that this is done in a structured way. I encourage people who are tempted to do this to co-ordinate with humanitarian organisations that have experience, because people who are fleeing war do not just need the clothing that is on offer. That is incredibly important, but many will need specialist emotional support, too. We need to make sure that they get access to both.

Brighton and Hove, the city I represent, has that generosity in abundance. The council is preparing to take five families, which is a modest contribution but it is what is being asked of it at the moment. It is also making contingency plans to take many more. We will rise to the challenge. The hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) is in her place, and I am sure that she, like me, has been inundated with offers from the general public to take people into their homes. That is symptomatic of the huge generosity that exists in the population at the moment, and I pay tribute to their humanity and generosity. We must also accept that this situation could be here for the long term. Many people will have emotional damage and will need specialist

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care. People who are offering to take people into their homes need to be cognisant of that and make sure that they are equipped to give the care that is needed into the long term.

Caroline Lucas: The hon. Gentleman is making a powerful case. He referred to Brighton and Hove, the city we both represent, rightly saying that many people there want to help. Does he agree that we need to put more pressure on the Government for the funding, particularly for local authorities, and for them to guarantee that it will last beyond the one year? I am really concerned that one year is not enough.

Peter Kyle: I certainly share the hon. Lady’s concerns and she makes a pertinent point. It is incredibly important that when the Department for International Development funding runs out, councils get the commitment into the long term, in order to continue their efforts.

I have seen what it takes to make somebody leave their home, their community and the people they love—they do not do that lightly. The push of war is greater than the pull of Britain. This crisis involves hundreds of thousands of people—it is into the millions now. When there is a crisis involving that number of people, we can find in that population anything we like, because every ounce of human characteristics will be on display. People who look for criminality will find it, and people who look for economic migrants will find them. The job of this House is to take decisions in the round and see that, overall, this group of people need help, are fleeing their country because of war and are turning to us for help in all sincerity. We can argue about numbers but there is one basic question: are we doing all we can as a nation on our own soil, or is there more we can do? There are more people who need to come here, the British people are prepared to take more and it is the Government who are getting in the way. On that basis, I am happy to support today’s motion.

5.42 pm

Patricia Gibson (North Ayrshire and Arran) (SNP): I am delighted to speak in the SNP Opposition day debate about this very important issue of the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean and Europe, and I am proud that it has commanded the support of six parties across this House.

Last week, the world woke to shocking images showing the lifeless body of a three-year-old Kurdish Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, lying face down on a Turkish beach. There is no doubt that that image was a turning point in this entire debate. Of course, everyone in this House welcomes the Government’s plan to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees, and as we debate this issue we must remember with humility that while we debate, people continue to suffer and to die. It is important that we do more. It is important that the UK Government do more, and our constituents rightly demand that we do more.

The Government must set out a clear timetable for welcoming refugees as soon as possible. Efforts must be twofold, helping those people within the region and those who have fled. Although we wish to conduct this debate in a constructive manner, it is not helpful to link this debate—this humanitarian crisis—to talk of migration and immigration targets. The UK has done much in providing aid to Syrian refugees in the region, but it is

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rightly recognised that there is a moral responsibility also to resettle a fair share of refugees in the UK. The UK must continue to provide significant aid contributions to Syria and neighbouring countries, and persuade all those it can to give generously.

Long-term solutions to the root causes of conflict in Syria are required, and the United Nations Security Council is central to resolving the current crisis. The UK Government should continue to advocate a sustainable and inclusive political solution and to push for an immediate ceasefire. We must work to ensure that all parties to the conflict stop any arms transfers and guarantee humanitarian access. Alan, the child whose tragic picture was seen across the world, was only one of more than 350,000 migrants who have attempted to cross the Mediterranean this year and, tragically, one of more than 2,600 who have lost their lives on that perilous journey. A further 1,000 have lost their lives along various other migration routes, including the Sahara desert and in the Bay of Bengal. That must be a matter of extreme concern to all of us, not only as MPs but as human beings, and to our constituents.

Far from being economic migrants—the mantra still being trotted out in some quarters—62% of those who reached Europe by boat this year, according to figures compiled by the UN, were from Syria, Eritrea and Afghanistan, countries ravaged by war and religious extremism. The scale of the suffering faced by those fleeing violence and barbarism is almost beyond the comprehension of anyone in this House. Driven by blind panic and motivated by a desire to protect their families, they fall into the hands of villainous people traffickers who herd them on to crowded and dangerously unseaworthy vessels. The outcome is often depressingly predictable and leads to the sort of appalling images we saw in the media last week.

The debate is not helped when we do not take care with the language we use. Insensitive language serves only to remove the human element from the tragic story unfolding. Of course, we all face challenges in our own communities in terms of tackling poverty and in delivering public services, but those pale in comparison to the scale of loss and suffering being experienced across north Africa and the Mediterranean.

The number seeking refuge in Europe equates to less than 0.05% of the continent’s population and, as the world’s richest continent, we could and should be more accommodating to those in need of our protection. In recent days, more and more people are realising that we could and should do more. We have all read the emails and post from our constituents, and we know what public opinion is on this issue.

It must be remembered that, far from being the chosen or favoured destination for asylum seekers, Britain is by no means on the front line of the migrant crisis. Indeed, the migrants at Calais account for as little as 1% of those who have arrived in Europe so far this year. Estimates suggest that around 3,000 migrants have reached Calais, which is a fraction of the more than 200,000 who have landed in Italy and Greece.

As the world’s richest continent, we could do much more to address the unfolding tragedy. We must applaud the exceptional efforts of the German Federal Government, who are preparing to take in 800,000 asylum seekers this year, and recognise that a growing number of people in this country wish that the UK Government would adopt a more proactive role. As we have heard

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repeatedly in this debate, there is no doubt that the UK could comfortably provide sanctuary to many more asylum seekers, because UN figures show that the number of refugees in the UK has fallen from 193,600 to 117,161 over the past four years.

Despite the fact that UN figures show the number of refugees in the UK falling by more than a third over the past four years, only a handful have been granted asylum this year. Sadly, that is in sharp contrast to the action by the German Federal Government. There is no doubt that, as one of the largest and wealthiest countries in Europe, we are capable of playing a serious role in alleviating the crisis. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has indicated that Scotland is more than ready to assist in meeting that challenge. Indeed, my own local authority, North Ayrshire Council, has expressed its willingness to play its part. The hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas) made the point very well that central Government funding is essential.

I take this opportunity to urge Members from across the House to sign my early-day motion—some have already done so—calling on the UK Government to show decisive leadership in ensuring a fair proportion of refugees are allowed to seek shelter across the UK. I and other SNP Members are confident that if we, along with our European neighbours, play our part, we can help to provide safe passage and sanctuary to those like Alan. His family simply wanted him to have a life not lived in fear, but his life was tragically lost so close to safety.

It is time for the UK to play a fuller part to help mitigate this unfolding human tragedy, which is on a scale not seen since world war two. It is time for the Government to lead, instead of being dragged into doing more by public opinion. If the UK Government do not do more, history will quite rightly judge them very harshly indeed.

5.51 pm

Ms Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh (Ochil and South Perthshire) (SNP): I speak in support of the motion to which I was proud to add my name.

No human life is more or less valuable than another. This country has an obligation to take a humanitarian and compassionate approach to resolving the current and acute refugee crisis not because we are bound by international law and bilateral or multilateral agreements, but because each of us—here in Parliament and across the British Isles—has a responsibility, with our European neighbours, to our fellow human beings to provide help and support to those in such desperate and dire need.

The Somali poet Warsan Shire recently said:

“No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”

Who among the parents in the Chamber could possibly contemplate the horror of putting their children on to dangerous and overcrowded boats to cross the Mediterranean sea, knowing that more than 3,000 others have perished so far this year attempting such a treacherous path to safety? How terrible must this situation get and how many more lives must be lost before this Government step up adequately to their responsibility?

The Syrian war has killed about 250,000 people to date, of whom half are believed to be civilians. Assad and Daesh have combined to bomb crowded cities and

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towns, and human rights violations are widespread. In this environment, it is difficult for many to access basic necessities, such as food and medical care. The UN estimates that 7.6 million people are internally displaced, and 4 million Syrians have fled. More than half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million are now in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, whether they still remain in the country or have escaped across the border.

Mike Weir (Angus) (SNP): Does my hon. Friend agree that, because of the war and the terror in Syria, many young people are escaping to avoid being conscripted into the various warring armies in the region? It is quite understandable that many of them want to get away from a future full of nothing but terror, fighting and war.

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh: I agree with my hon. Friend, who passionately articulates the sentiments felt by us all. As a parent, I want to be able to explain to my children that I—that we—did all we possibly could to help. Our children are asking questions, and we should not be ashamed of our answers.

A practical humanitarian response to this tragedy requires three main strands of action. First, the UK must takes its fair share of refugees. It is right that we should seek to relocate those families and individuals in Syria and in the region who are in immediate peril. I welcome the action from the Government. I agree that we should do more to support these people, but we must also play our part in responding to the immediate crisis in Europe itself. It is the right thing to do. When the other great nations in Europe are standing side by side to work together to tackle the largest humanitarian crisis in decades on our shore, the UK should not seek to stand back from our responsibility, distancing ourselves from the collective responsibility of European membership. European membership is about democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. It stands for pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice and solidarity, and we should fulfil these very principles. When the leaders of Europe meet, the UK must discuss with our allies and partners what we can do to play our maximum part.

In Scotland this week, over half of our councils have stepped up to pledge their support for those affected by this crisis. The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has had an overwhelming and unprecedented response from local authorities on this issue. Every party leader in the Scottish Parliament supports further action. I will not be the only Member here who has been inundated by calls, letters and emails from constituents pledging support or seeking ways in which to give support directly. By every measure, there is a clear majority of people across Scotland and the UK who support a compassionate and proportionate response from this Government.

Secondly, this humanitarian response must not be used as a cover or pretext for military action in Syria. The deterioration in the security of the region can be traced back directly to the disastrous decision to join with George Bush in pursuing illegal military action in Iraq. We must not make that same mistake again here. How could we possibly fathom another UK Prime Minister, in his second term of office, pushing for a

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military solution to a humanitarian crisis? An increase in offensive military action against Assad or Daesh would not stabilise the situation within Syria. Instead, what must happen now is that the UK must seek the support of the other permanent members of the UN Security Council to secure safe corridors and camps for refugees throughout the middle east. I know that this approach has already gained support from across the House, and I welcome that progress. When SNP colleagues and I met with a range of stakeholders in Scotland last week to hear their experience of working in Syria, there was wide support for such an approach. Action on this basis would be the antithesis of previous military campaigns in the region, as it would be defensive in nature, have a clear and achievable objective, and would be underpinned by international law.

In March 2011, the Prime Minister stood in this House and said of the situation then facing Libya:

“Do we want a situation where a failed pariah state festers on Europe’s southern border, potentially threatening our security, pushing people across the Mediterranean”?—[Official Report, 14 March 2011; Vol. 525, c. 27.]

At that point, the Prime Minster was determined to prevent a humanitarian crisis on the periphery of Europe. As we now know, the total additional cost of Operation Ellamy in Libya is estimated to be about £320 million. In the past, this Government and others before them have spared no expense in pursuing military action. We are engaged in military action against Daesh. On this basis, we should be prepared to welcome those who are fleeing its tyranny.

Angela Crawley: The threat of reprisal against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people who live under Daesh, or as refugees who have fled the area, is particularly salient. Will my hon. Friend join me in urging the Government to commit to appointing a special envoy to ensure that international attention does not forget the plight of these especially threatened people?

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh: I absolutely do, and I hope that Ministers take up my hon. Friend’s excellent suggestion.

I agree with EU President Juncker, who spoke so passionately about this issue today. For the world, this is a matter of humanity and human dignity. For Europe, it is a matter of historical fairness. This is a continent where so many have been refugees at one time or another, fleeing war, dictatorship or oppression. We need to treat others as we would hope to be treated ourselves. I am proud that Europe is seen as a safe haven for those fleeing horrific circumstances. We should not cower in fear from Europe’s reputation as a beacon of democracy and justice in a dangerous world. As President Juncker pointed out today, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon—countries far poorer than the UK—are making huge efforts in moral and financial terms to address this crisis. One in five people in Lebanon today is a refugee. Italy, Hungary and Greece cannot be left alone to deal with the enormous challenge facing us in Europe.

Victoria Atkins: The hon. Lady has cited countries such as Turkey that are doing such a lot to help with the refugee crisis, but does she accept that the £900 million in aid the UK has given is helping those countries do exactly that?

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Ms Ahmed-Sheikh: As the motion details, we welcome what is already being done, but we are saying it does not go far enough or fast enough. That is the point of the motion. The motion calls on the Government to commit to take our fair share of responsibility, as a member of the EU, in resolving the tragedy unfolding before us. I implore all Members to support the motion.

6.1 pm

John Mc Nally (Falkirk) (SNP): I, too, thank everyone in the House. The quality and detail of the debate, from Opposition Members and some Government Members, has been outstanding. Benjamin Franklin said:

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

To me, this sums up our current Administration’s attitude. What a confusion the Government are in! Meanwhile, human tragedy fills our television screens and newspapers daily. We watch in amazement as party leaders morph from one policy to another—so if Members do not like this one, they should not worry, because another one will be along in a month. It appears that the Prime Minister has no vision, no strategy, no planning; all is short-termism. Westminster has been practising short-termism for decade upon decade, and it has taken the heartbreaking photograph of a drowned boy to force the Government into action. It is totally shameful.

The Government’s inertia is baffling. Across the UK, people cannot understand such a lack of decision making and leadership in the face of these urgent world events. While we welcome the Prime Minister’s recent announcement to welcome Syrian refugees, the amount of time and debate it took to reach this point is embarrassing, and it is still not good enough. As said earlier, Westminster has all the resources to react quickly and decisively to urgent situations, but it never, ever seems to be ready. Why do we need another plan? This place should have a plan in place to deal with humanitarian situations. Where are the strength, the clarity of leadership and the strong voices that truly affect and reflect what the citizens of these, our islands, actually want?

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon was quick to outline plans to offer aid. Rather than dithering as people died, she urged the Westminster Government to act. On our behalf, she wants to reach out a hand and actually do something substantial. Surely to goodness, amid such a human tragedy, the UK needs a leader who demands fairness, compassion and, importantly, action from Ministers.

Julie Cooper (Burnley) (Lab) rose

John Mc Nally: I have nearly finished. I will keep my comments short. Mr Speaker likes it that way—or so I am told by his former secretary’s secretary, who now works for me. [Laughter.] I might be cheating, as I have inside information, but I will put it to good use. There is no time to be lost while young lives are being lost: this is a time to act.

Lastly, I want to thank my Falkirk constituents for their prompt action. They are preparing themselves: they are meeting tonight, organising themselves and getting ready as quickly as they possibly can. Where action is required, they are prepared to react.

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6.5 pm

Alison Thewliss (Glasgow Central) (SNP): As the pictures of young Alan Kurdi appeared on our screens, I found it difficult to comprehend quite what had happened in Europe that allowed that to happen. I sat up all night and replied to all the emails I received from my constituents who had also seen the images and were desperate to do something to help. They wanted their MP to stand up and say, “This should not be happening on our shores; we should do everything we can to help.” I held my own children tighter that night as they slept in their beds, and I kept my own son away from the newspaper racks in the morning because I could not explain to him how that could have been allowed to happen in Europe.

I noticed this morning that UNICEF had published some photographs taken by children who were living in the refugee camps of Lebanon and Palestine in 2013 and 2014. It is interesting to observe their perspective, seeing life through the eyes of those children. What did they see in those camps? Just other families and other friends—ordinary families living lives in extraordinary circumstances that we would not wish for our own families and children. They saw heat; they saw mud; they saw snow; they saw filth; they saw weddings. Those were the sorts of things the children were seeing in those camps, but they should not have been living their young childhoods there. They should not have had to face that as their reality.

All things are not equal in EU countries today. While we are able to cope to some degree with refugees coming to our shores, people in Hungary are unable to cope. I looked through some photographs on social media and found that the refugee camps being set up in Hungary are woefully inadequate to deal with the numbers, the needs and the circumstances that people face. There are families there with pregnant women and sick and injured people who need a great deal more support than they are able to receive just now.

Médicins sans Frontières has described the current situation in Lesbos as “a pressure cooker”. There are boats going to take people away from those Greek islands because the infrastructure there cannot cope with the circumstances. People came there fleeing terrible circumstances and paid a lot to get there, but things are still terrible for them. We need to look to our European partners to see what help we can give because the infrastructure is incapable of coping.

Both Médicins sans Frontières and the Migrant Offshore Aid Station are operating in the Mediterranean. On their busiest day, some six days ago, 1,658 people were rescued by the two boats that those organisations are operating. They are rescuing people from different circumstances all day through from 7 o’clock in the morning. We need to look to our own resources; what resources can we bring to this? What could our Navy and our fisheries protection vessels be doing to help so that more people do not drown when they could be saved?

Stuart C. McDonald: Earlier this afternoon, I received an answer from the Ministry of Defence that, in tandem with another answer from the same Ministry, shows that the first ship we deployed in the Mediterranean rescued an average 527 people every week over nine weeks. Today, however, we learn that the second ship we

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deployed, HMS Enterprise, has rescued fewer than that—453 migrants in total over the same period. Does my hon. Friend share my concern about what that means for our ships in the Mediterranean and what we are asking them to do? Do we not deserve a detailed explanation of their exact role in the Mediterranean?

Alison Thewliss: I certainly agree with my hon. Friend. It is very poor indeed if it is true that charitable organisations operating on an absolute shoestring are rescuing more people than our Navy is able to rescue, given the facilities and investment that go into our Navy. We need to do a good deal more.

Those refugees are not coming solely from Syria; they are coming from Eritrea, Somalia, Libya and a range of other countries, and we must do all that we can to support each of them. As my hon. Friend the Member for Ochil and South Perthshire (Ms Ahmed-Sheikh) said earlier, no one puts their child on a boat unless the sea is safer than the land. We must bear that in mind when we think of the difficulties and challenges that people are facing, and the fear that must drive them and their families out on to the sea.

The response in Glasgow has been absolutely amazing. I have been inundated with emails, because so many organisations are trying to help. Groups of people have come together to form organisations such as Scotland Supporting Refugees. Other organisations are well established, such as the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and Positive Action in Housing. Strathclyde University’s student union is collecting for refugees, and the Clutha—a bar which, as many will know, faced tragedy itself—has been raising money for the Scottish Refugee Council. All those organisations are coming together, but what would be incredibly useful would be a wee bit more guidance on what people should be doing to help. What can people give? Should they donate money, clothes or bedding? Where can they go to donate, and how can we best support the offers from ordinary people who are desperate to do something to avert the tragedy that we are seeing?

I have also received a request from a woman who is involved in Scotland Supporting Refugees. She is desperate to try to help by taking items to Greece, but she has found it incredibly difficult to persuade the airline—in this instance, Flybe—to provide the extra baggage allowance. I hope that Ministers will speak to airlines that are already operating charter flights to Greece to use whatever leeway they have to allow people to take extra items. All the airlines should be trying to support this humanitarian effort.

I have been trying to help a constituent who has been seeking status in this country for some time, having fled from a very dangerous situation in Yemen. He got in touch with me, regardless of the extreme personal difficulties that he has been experiencing—he has faced destitution, not for the first time—to ask, “What can I do to help? I do not want anyone else to have to face this situation.”

I urge the Government to do more. It is great that finance has been coming, but a good deal more needs to be done to support people who are in the most desperate of circumstances.

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6.12 pm

Simon Hoare (North Dorset) (Con): I apologise to the House for the fact that, although I was in the Chamber for the opening speeches, I have not been present for the whole debate.

Let me say at the outset that I am no Tory Mr Gradgrind, gnashing my teeth and moaning and groaning about things—not, I must add, with universal support in North Dorset. I am a huge supporter of the 0.7% of GDP, and I hope that economic growth can continue so that that figure can rise. It is testimony to our history, our heritage and our humanitarian outlook, and we as a nation should be proud of it.

I think the fact that the House has discussed this issue, both as a result of the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday and in the debates that have taken place yesterday and this afternoon, illustrates the huge amount of interest, concern and support in the House.

An earlier speaker suggested that this was probably the first occasion on which public policy, both here and elsewhere, was being shaped or formed by a photograph. I am not entirely sure that that is correct. Quite a lot of people will think back to the photograph of that little girl during the Vietnam war, and how it helped shape and change public opinion. The photographs of figures in holocaust camps, consisting of skin and bone held up by rags, changed the view as well. However, I have to say, without becoming too maudlin about the matter, that as the father of three daughters—one of whom happens also to be a three-year-old—I was very struck by that photograph. As I flipped through recent pictures on my phone of her splashing in the waves during a family holiday in north Pembrokeshire, I tried to put myself in that father’s position. He had lost everything, and was wondering who or what was there to help and support him—and, indeed, whether the world understood what on earth was going on.

I think what is happening in the UK is desperately important, and it is indicative of our DNA when it comes to these issues. Whenever there is an international crisis with a humanitarian aspect, our country and its citizens, charities and voluntary sector always rise to the occasion and do so magnificently, often through small people doing small things that they hope will make a big difference.

In the three sessions of debate on this issue, a number of Members have referenced what their councils are doing. I am pleased to say that even in rural, somewhat sleepy Dorset, which does not have a very racially mixed demographic, the chief executive of North Dorset district council, Matt Prosser, is convening discussions with other council officers to see what Dorset can do to help.

If this motion is pressed to a Division, I will oppose it, however, because it asks us to help those who are already in Europe. It is a fundamental principle that we must stand first against that. There are several reasons why. The kernel of my concerns is the issue I raised with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on Monday—security. There is a downside to having 20,000 people over a five-year period rather than immediately. If I was an ISIS recruiter wishing this country ill, I would be trying to find ways to infiltrate and get my people in on those transports bringing people to the United Kingdom. We know because that is how they work. We know

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because we have seen it in other refugee camps where political or religious intimidation is rife. It would be wholly negligent of Her Majesty’s Government to adopt a policy that brought such people into this country. The sole purpose is the relief of suffering, but that would bring in people who wish to cause harm and discord.

Stuart C. McDonald: Our policy on asylum seekers and those seeking refuge has been driven by ISIL. ISIL has already won.

Simon Hoare: I have to say that I think that, unfortunately, the hon. Gentleman is in some respects right. Part of the downside of what has been an instinctive humanitarian response is that we are doing President Assad’s job for him by clearing away the results of his devastating policy on his country, and some could construe that as waving a white flag to ISIL, too—saying, “We cannot defeat you; we haven’t the resolve or the resource and therefore we are going to absorb those people who have been displaced by your actions.” I therefore agree with the hon. Gentleman in that I could see that being a very easy interpretation of some of our actions and some of these proposals.

Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) (SNP): We have a desire to help those on European shores. We are a member of the EU. We should stop hiding behind Schengen and accept our responsibilities to work with our partners to give sanctuary to those who need refuge. That is the priority.

Simon Hoare: I hear what the hon. Gentleman says, and I repeat a point I made in an intervention on the shadow Foreign Secretary: there are hospitals, doctors, schools and the whole network of social infrastructure in each and every European country. There may be qualitative differences, and there may even be quantitative differences, but those networks exist.

Martin John Docherty rose—

Simon Hoare: Let me finish this point. It would be a retrograde step if people could say, “I have arrived in Europe, I am free of persecution, but I am now going to do a pick ‘n’ mix of which country in Europe is best for me.” I also have to say that it is deeply insulting to those countries in Europe who themselves are striving to deal with this issue to say that we can do it better than them. There is a smack of imperialism—

Several hon. Members rose

Simon Hoare: At the mention of a smack of imperialism, I seem to be infested by Scots. I will give way to the hon. Member for West Dunbartonshire (Martin John Docherty).

Martin John Docherty: I am grateful for the infestation of Scots; I am delighted that 56 of them are Scottish nationalists, especially in this debate today. I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman would agree that the nations that might require the greatest assistance are great nations such as the Republic of Greece, which founders on economic disaster, yet opens its doors without question to those seeking refuge in the most dreadful conditions; and if we are to support them, we should also give them additional investment.

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Simon Hoare: I hear what the hon. Gentleman says, but the sovereign Government of Greece signed up to an arrangement of open borders, which they now have to justify to their people. Her Majesty’s Government, on previous occasions, took a different point of view.

Mark Durkan: The hon. Gentleman has clearly overcome whatever emotions afflicted him when he scrolled through his family photographs by conjuring up the most bizarre rationale. Does he not understand that many of us fully accept why Government Members want at every opportunity to stand outside a common currency in Europe, but not to stand outside common decency?

Simon Hoare: With the greatest respect to the hon. Gentleman—I do have a huge amount of respect for his views on many issues—I think that point seeks to deliberately debase the debate. This is nothing at all to do with either decency or indecency. The difference between opposition and government is that Opposition parties can let only their hearts dictate the narrative; the governing party has to use heart and head. I shall come on briefly to some of the issues—whether we are talking about 20,000 and whether they will come from within the camps or elsewhere—that are pertinent for Ministers to consider.

Chris Stephens (Glasgow South West) (SNP): Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Simon Hoare: I have given way quite enough. Let me make a little progress in the time remaining.

I was a district councillor for 11 years, so I find it heartening that through the Department for International Development’s budget for the first year, funding will be made available to local authorities. I suggest that there would be an even more active response from local government if Ministers gave a further indication of the sources of funding for years 2 through to 5. That would be productive.

We should always continue to ensure that countries closer to Syria and the camps do their bit. We must ask Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and others to play their part, because the quicker we can get people back to a country that is peaceful and where civil government is reinstated, the better. It will be much easier to do that from countries nearer to home.

I fear that the slightly open-door policy advocated by the shadow Foreign Secretary and the SNP is the greatest recruiting sergeant to those whom the whole House abhors: those who profit from people trafficking. I think that it will just encourage people. [Interruption.] Opposition Members from a sedentary position shout “shameful”, and I absolutely agree. It is shameful that in the early part of the 21st century, we have people—fellow human beings—who seek to profit and make their living from selling and transporting human cargo in degrading and horrible circumstances, where they are ripping people off, cramming them into boats and causing even more unnecessary suffering.

Peter Grant (Glenrothes) (SNP): Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Simon Hoare: I will not give way.

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Finally—and this is where we should be careful not to be media-dominated—there are lots of humanitarian crises across the surface of the globe. Some have mentioned Yemen, and there are others. We need to be very careful that we do not do too much too quickly, because that raises expectation and gives the green light to those who are fundamentally anti-democratic and anti human rights.

6.24 pm

Alex Salmond (Gordon) (SNP): I was going to speak about the consensual tone of the debate, and then the hon. Member for North Dorset (Simon Hoare) returned to the Chamber. I have two things to say to him. First, he would have benefited if he had been able to listen to the other 29 speeches in the debate. There was a lot in them, but he will have the opportunity to see that if he reads Hansard. The second and more serious point is that, realistically, the threat from Daesh does not lie in its sticking a few operatives into groups of asylum seekers or people seeking refuge and sanctuary. The threat from Daesh is that its poisonous ideology will affect people born and bred in this country. One thing that will enable that is a suspicion or belief, founded or unfounded, that we judge asylum on whether people are Muslim, brown, black, or just look suspicious. I ask him to reflect on whether the attitude that he struck in his speech will help or hinder the battle of ideas, which is central to the assault on terrorism.

The 29 speeches that I heard—I sat through every single one—were a credit to this House and to this Chamber. Of course there were disagreements. Incidentally, this motion is the most consensual motion that I have ever had a hand in drafting in this House. I can absolutely assure the Chamber of that. This motion is not just about what is in it, but about what has not been put in it. Government Members will notice that there is no mention of the imperial legacy in the middle east, which is the fundamental cause of many of the issues. There is no mention of the illegal war in Iraq, which is the more immediate cause of destabilisation and radicalisation. There is not even any mention of our recent experience in Libya.

Government Members might ask what we did wrong in Libya. Of course there was a strong argument on humanitarian grounds for intervening in an air campaign to protect people against the dictator, but where does the argument lie given that the House of Commons Library has explained to us that this country committed £320 million to that air campaign and committed £25 million to the rebuilding and reconstruction programmes after the immediate conflict? Thirteen times as much was spent on a military campaign as on a reconstruction campaign.

I did not mention the arms trade in the motion and the reality that, in this conflict as in every conflict, British armaments and munitions will be used by both sides. This motion was aimed at concentrating on areas where we could build a consensus.

I said that this was the most consensual motion in which I had been involved in this House. I was involved in a number of consensual motions in the Scottish Parliament as First Minister when I led a minority

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Government; I felt that the necessity of numbers often required me to temper my enthusiasm for certain areas of policy and I tried instead to build a consensus. I did so on issues such as climate change remarkably successfully.

This Government have a majority in this Chamber, but I caution them to reflect on the fact that the leaders of six opposition parties and the Independent Unionist Member of Parliament have put their names to this motion. Having a majority in this Chamber does not necessarily represent a majority opinion in the country. There is the strongest evidence that the majority position in the country is more reflected in this motion than in the Government’s disagreements with it. We tried to emphasise in the motion not just what more we think should be done but what has been done, and we tried to accord it full credit and our support.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow North East (Anne McLaughlin) reminded us of dehumanising language and the dangers it can have in such debates. It was significant that for the overwhelming bulk of the debate, at least, there was no dehumanising language. There was no mention of “hordes”, or “floods”, or “swarms” or anything like that. The context of the debate, the reason why we are here today and the reason why there has been this overwhelming surge from the grassroots of each and every one of our constituencies to do more is that picture of Alan Kurdi. Rather than making the debate about tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or masses of migrants, that picture humanised it. It made the debate about an individual, small child lying dead, face down in the waves of the Turkish beach. That was what humanised the issue for our constituents and, in all honesty, it is why the Government are at the Dispatch Box today.

That context combines two things: the instinct to survive that is the most profound of all human emotions, as mentioned by the spokesperson from the Labour Front Bench, the right hon. Member for Leeds Central (Hilary Benn); and the anxiety to help that is a profound human response to seeing our fellow human beings in extremity. As a Chamber and as a House we should reflect on the point that if the purpose of the Kurdi family had been to go not to Canada but to the United Kingdom and if, by some wonderful act of fate, Alan had survived rather than dying in the sea, that three-year-old child would have been refused refuge in the United Kingdom, either because he landed in Turkey, and we therefore do not think that that accords with our obligations, or because we are not prepared to play a part or make a contribution with other European partners to taking responsibility for part of the problem.

As for leadership, we have this opportunity because our constituents are exercised and energised on this issue. We have heard from almost every speaker about the experience in their constituency of the anxiety and willingness to help. That gives us the opportunity for real leadership, and we should do more in this House. We should do that.

The nub of the debate and the issue that has divided opinion, even among those who are anxious to help but who none the less have a legitimate argument against the motion, concerns what Conservative Members have cautioned against: the green light, as they put it, that would be signalled to traffickers and displaced people in the middle east if the UK joined our European partners in accepting refugees.

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Victoria Atkins: In giving evidence to the Home Affairs Committee yesterday, the mayor of Calais was very clear that family members of immigrants—economic immigrants as well, I fully accept—write to their relatives in their countries of origin telling them that Britain is a land of fairness and freedom and encouraging them to come over. Does the right hon. Gentleman not understand that criminal networks want to make—

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle): Order. Unfortunately, we need short interventions rather than speeches. If the right hon. Member for Gordon (Alex Salmond) wants to give way again, he may do so.

Alex Salmond: I understand the point, as I heard the counter-arguments from a number of Members with great experience. I heard the hon. Member for Foyle (Mark Durkan), for example, point out that exactly the same logic was used to withdraw the naval patrols in 2013, resulting in people dying. I heard from people with practical experience. The hon. Member for Hove (Peter Kyle) pointed out that the push of war rather than the pull of the UK is the motivation for people taking the desperate gamble of going across the Mediterranean. In realistic terms, does anyone seriously believe that, given that the German Government’s policy of offering sanctuary to hundreds of thousands of people is in place, others would be motivated if this country were prepared to accept a share of the responsibility? That is an extraordinary argument.

Those on the Conservative Benches should reflect on the speech of the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Nicola Blackwood), which shone out like a beacon among the contributions from Conservative Members. She pointed out from her own experience that the conditions in the camps are also what motivate people to leave—the hopelessness of not having any prospect of returning to Syria or any of the other benighted countries, and the lack of opportunity for education. We heard two statistics. The Secretary of State herself told us that only 37% of the necessary funding was available for the food programme. The Opposition spokesperson pointed out that the food ration had been cut by 50%. The camps cannot be regarded as the only solution to the problem.

Mr MacNeil: My right hon. Friend is making a good point about why these people will come and will have to come. As my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh East (Tommy Sheppard) said, the terror behind them is so much worse than what is in front of them. With the UK closing the door or being ham-fisted, our European partners have to take more refugees, as we would wrongly pass by on the other side. I urge the UK Government not to do that, but to play their full part and ask, “What more can we do?” as my hon. Friend the Member for Moray (Angus Robertson) said in his opening speech.

Alex Salmond: I agree with my hon. Friend.

When the Prime Minister goes to the European summit next week, or when he deals with our partners in the United Nations, what position will he adopt in asking others to fulfil their obligations to help support people in the camps in the middle east? Will he approach others by saying, “We’re having nothing to do with our European partners in their programme of resettlement”,

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or by saying, “We will share that burden and we expect you to share the burden of support for refugees in the camps”? Which position will accord this country the greatest influence and the greatest prospects of success? Surely logic tells us that it is the co-operative position.

James Cleverly (Braintree) (Con) rose

Alex Salmond: I give way for the last time.

James Cleverly: I genuinely appreciate the right hon. Gentleman giving way. From the phrases that he has just used, the inadvertent implication of the motion—I take it that it is inadvertent—seems to be that our priority would be to help our European partners alleviate the burden of their immigrant and refugee crisis, rather than helping the people in the refugee camps on the borders of Syria. Surely that cannot be his intention.

Alex Salmond: I suggest the hon. Gentleman reread the motion. Also, if he had been here for the debate, he would have heard that explained many times.

That brings me to my final point of argument before I sum up—that is, whether the situation would be manageable if we made a contribution. In some of the speeches I heard, Members were worried about whether we could cope with an issue of such magnitude. Recent experience, never mind post-war experience, tells us otherwise. In 2001 the number of asylum applications in the United Kingdom that were granted—not the number that were made, but the number that were granted in a single year—was 31,641. Last year the number was 8,150.

Even in our recent experience we have coped properly, morally and responsibly with far larger numbers than even the Government’s renewed suggestion of a resettlement scheme implies. It is important for us to understand that we have the capacity to deal with the situation, as shown not just by the case of the Ugandan Asians or Vietnamese boat people, but by very recent experience. President Juncker made an excellent, if belated, speech this morning to the European Parliament, pointing out that at the end of the second world war 20 million people had to be resettled on the continent of Europe. Surely now we can find it within ourselves to make a contribution with our European partners to address the issue of refuge in Europe, as well as encouraging them and the rest of the world to act directly on the situation in the camps in the middle east.

Sue Hayman (Workington) (Lab): The right hon. Gentleman makes a critical point about the camps. The UNHCR, the World Health Organisation and other organisations working in the camps are at breaking point, so we must also look at how we support them.

Alex Salmond: I absolutely agree, which is precisely why the motion argues for an attitude of co-operation with our European partners, so that we will be in a position to encourage them to join us in taking further action in support of UN efforts.

I have two further points to make, but I will make them quickly because I want to give the Minister plenty of time to answer the questions that so many contributors to the debate have asked. I recently became a member of UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation’s board, which is

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chaired by Sir Peter Bazalgette on a cross-party basis. During the first meeting I attended I made the point that the organisation must be about more than having a memorial, as crucial as that is. It must ensure that the memory of what happened in the holocaust is never lost and that information about it is available to future generations, but it must also celebrate the contribution that those who were saved from the death camps have made to this country, in medicine, science, business and the arts.

Although this debate has not been guilty of using dehumanising language, not enough has been said about what an opportunity this is. That is surprising, given how many Members pointed out that they themselves are the sons, daughters or grandchildren of immigrants or refugees. This is not a burden, a problem or a drag; it is an opportunity. Every family, every child and every human being that we contribute to saving has an opportunity to do great things for this country, just as the refugees who were saved from the death camps have done. Let us change our attitude and see the potential in doing the right thing, not just the problems.

Finally, the Prime Minister said today—I think I am quoting him correctly—that he was putting “no limit” on the first year. I am not sure that is accurate, in the sense that there is the limit of 20,000 over five years. None the less, he said that he would not put a limit on the programme in its first year, which should make Conservative MPs pause for thought. He also said how pleased he was that we can exercise sovereignty because we are not in the Schengen agreement. I have spent my political life arguing for sovereignty for the Scottish people, so I really do understand its importance. But having sovereignty is about having the right to choose and not to be ordered to do things. I think that it is a good thing not to be ordered to do things, because we should not have to be ordered to do this; we should choose as a nation to do the right thing, and we should choose to support this motion.

6.42 pm

The Minister for Immigration (James Brokenshire): We have had a good, broad and wide-ranging debate on an issue of real concern not only to this House but to the whole UK. Indeed, it should extend to Europe and the world as a whole, given the flows of people we are seeing and the challenges that presents. A number of important themes came through in the debate, and they were apparent in all the contributions we heard. There is recognition and understanding of those challenges, and indeed support for a number of things that the Government are doing. We welcome the points of the motion that underline that. In the spirit with which the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson) opened the debate, I recognise that in the points of the motion that he highlighted.

In that spirit of understanding and agreement, I urge all right hon. and hon. Members to do their bit to support the resettlement scheme that the Prime Minister announced earlier this week, to ensure that local authorities and the devolved Administrations come forward and play their part, and indeed to find ways of channelling that passion and the contributions that the individuals who have contacted us can make. I will come on to the

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structures and statements that will follow and what we are doing to ensure that this work is undertaken at pace to give effect to the rightful expectations of this House and the country as a whole. These themes of compassion and humanity have been raised by Members in all parts of the House, and that has been the motivating factor for the actions of this Government too.

We are witnessing mass migration across Europe on a scale not seen since the end of the second world war. We have seen harrowing pictures that serve as a tragic reminder of the risks that people take when attempting to make dangerous journeys to Europe, and a stark reminder of the exploitation by smugglers and organised criminal gangs who put people’s lives at risk, put them in harm’s way, and, frankly, do not care whether they live or die. It is that loss of life that Members across this House take so seriously, and it is a further point we can all agree on.

I want to return to the opening speech by my right hon. Friend the International Development Secretary. Many Members—certainly Opposition Members—have said, “We’re looking for leadership.” Well, this Government are showing leadership in being the only EU country to fulfil its pledge to provide 0.7% of GDP for international aid. We should be proud of that. Through that leadership, this country is showing that it has a sense of where need is required to be met and the difference that is making. This is not about simply saying, “It’s millions of pounds”, although it is; it is about the fact that it is delivering real benefit to so many people. UK support has delivered over 18 million food rations, each of which feeds one person for a month, provided access to clean water for 1.6 million people, and provided over 2.4 million medical consultations in Syria and the region. This country can be proud of that.

Angus Robertson: The record will show that just a few moments ago the Minister said that the United Kingdom is the only member state of the European Union to fulfil an obligation of 0.7% in terms of international development aid. Is he saying that the Netherlands, Denmark and other EU and Scandinavian countries have not fulfilled the 0.7% obligation? They have done so for a number of years, yet the UK is only now beginning to do so, having promised to, in the first instance, from 1970.

James Brokenshire: We are the only major developed country in the G7 that is making this contribution—[Interruption.]

Mr Deputy Speaker (Mr Lindsay Hoyle): Order. Mr MacNeil, you have been doing very well this Session—let’s not spoil it.

James Brokenshire: I say to the hon. Gentleman that we should be proud of this. In his opening speech, he highlighted the real benefit that we as a country should look to—

Mr MacNeil: On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Is it in order to have two classes of partner in the European Union whereby the Government decide that some are major and some are minor?

Mr Deputy Speaker: I do not need to worry about a point of order on that.

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James Brokenshire: It is important to come back to the point I was making on the difference that aid is making. The £100 million that was committed in July is providing vulnerable people inside Syria and across the region with food, clean drinking water, relief assistance, health support and shelter. There is a focus on education, including an increase in funding up to £20 million for education in Lebanon this year in preparation for school enrolment in September to help ensure that refugee children and Lebanese children alike can benefit from an education. I hope that everyone agrees with the need to provide hope and a future for the refugees in those camps, who have been displaced into that region. That gives a sense of how we can rebuild, while recognising that this is a challenge beyond the shores of Europe. The International Development Secretary clearly indicated in her opening remarks the other steps required.

Ian Blackford: Will the Minister define what he described as major and minor and explain why it is important?

James Brokenshire: I am genuinely sorry if the hon. Gentleman finds fault in the way in which this Government —or, indeed, this country—are providing aid and assistance. This is a really serious and important matter. The point I am underlining is the leadership this country is showing, and we should not talk it down or diminish it, because it is making a real difference.

Nicola Blackwood: I thank the Minister for giving way: he is being very generous. I want to take us away from the statistics to the things that will actually help the refugees in the camps. Does he agree that the humanitarian crisis response model is not fit for a long-term crisis and that responding with short-term assistance does not give hope to refugees? We need to address problems of insecurity, long-term education and job opportunities. That will address the drivers of this crisis.

James Brokenshire: I entirely agree with my hon. Friend, whose speech I commend for underlining the importance of examining the long-term future of the region. This debate has focused on that serious issue and it is important that we continue to do so.

Most of the debate has focused on the pressure in the Mediterranean as a result of events in the middle east and north and sub-Saharan Africa. The UK works closely with international partners to tackle the conflicts in Syria, providing support to the region and fighting the criminal gangs who exploit people. We continue to play a huge role in international search and rescue efforts to save lives at sea. HMS Enterprise and the Border Force cutters are still patrolling the waters, supported by a helicopter, and the combined response that the UK has generated has saved more than 6,700 lives to date.

We recognise that many people are refugees fleeing conflict. That is why the Prime Minister announced on Monday that the UK will resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the lifetime of this Parliament, building on existing schemes. That is in addition to a further £100 million of humanitarian aid for those in camps in Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, bringing our total

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contribution to more than £1 billion. The UNHCR views our contribution on resettlement as serious and substantial.

Stuart C. McDonald: The Minister will have heard me say earlier that the Ministry of Defence revealed this afternoon that HMS Enterprise is rescuing people from the Mediterranean at less than 10% of the scale that HMS Bulwark achieved. Is there an explanation for that, and how is it consistent with what the Prime Minister and the Chancellor said in June about continuing to play a full role in search and rescue?

James Brokenshire: The Royal Navy and Border Force continue to provide support to the efforts of Operation Triton to save lives in the Mediterranean. HMS Enterprise is also supporting the effort against trafficking, identifying those vessels that are linked to people smuggling. On 22 and 23 August, HMS Enterprise contributed to a major rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean, working with the EU-led mission, which saved about 4,400 people in a single day. It is contributing as part of a wider network of vessels and is absolutely playing a role in dealing with the immediate issues in the Mediterranean.

I want to move on to how we will ensure that the resettlement programme works effectively. The Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will hold their first meeting on Friday to discuss the arrangements and the Home Secretary will update the House next week. We are listening to the representations of the devolved Administrations and local government, and are keen to ensure they are reflected in our proposals. This is not only about speed and delivery, but about ensuring that the support we provide is effective and will deliver the welcome that we all want to see for those who arrive here. That point was highlighted by a number of Members.

We will continue to work with our European partners to solve the immediate issues, but the EU needs to deal collectively with the causes of the crisis, not just its consequences. That can be done only with a comprehensive solution. That is why we need to continue to build stability in source and transit countries, and to develop economic and social opportunities by targeting development aid and increasing investment. We need to continue to assist those who are in genuine need of international protection and swiftly return those who are not.

We also need to tackle the organised crime networks that facilitate people smuggling. Organisations such as Europol have an important part to play in that and we are working closely with them to put in place the intelligence flows that are needed to go after the people traffickers. Equally, we must understand the way in which those organised crime groups are using social media, so that we can disrupt them and take direct action against them.

Bob Stewart: Is any effort being put into the fractured society in Libya, perhaps through aid or money, to get it to try to stop the boats leaving its shores?

James Brokenshire: My hon. Friend makes an important point. We are working at a number of levels to create stability in Libya, which will be a key part of the solution to the problem of these flows across the Mediterranean.

9 Sep 2015 : Column 505

The UK has a strong history of protecting those who flee persecution. We granted asylum to about 12,000 refugees last year alone and have resettled from overseas more than 6,300 refugees over the past 10 years in direct co-operation with the UNHRC under our gateway programme. We have granted asylum to more than 5,000 Syrians since the start of the humanitarian crisis. That is in addition to providing protection to people under the UK’s Syrian vulnerable persons relocation scheme, which was launched in January 2014. That scheme has made a life-changing and potentially life-saving difference to hundreds of the most vulnerable refugees, including women who have been subject to abuse, children traumatised by war and those in need of specific medical assistance. Again, that scheme will be extended after the Prime Minister’s announcement earlier this week.

The Government have made clear their view on the relocation of asylum seekers within the EU on many occasions. We think that it is the wrong response and will not take part in a mechanism for relocation within the EU, whether temporary or permanent. We judge that criticism of this decision misses the point. All member states in the EU have a duty, both moral and legal, to provide refuge to those who need it and to provide the support that those people require. Many member states have not done that and it is time that they stepped up to the plate.

On the issue of notification raised in the motion, the Government will keep the House fully updated on this issue. The Home Secretary is due to provide a detailed update next week, and through our transparency agenda we have committed to providing quarterly data on the vulnerable persons relocation scheme. We see no reason therefore formally to lay a report—

Mike Weir claimed to move the closure (Standing Order No. 36).

Question put forthwith, That the Question be now put.

Question agreed to.

Question put accordingly (Standing Order No. 31(2), That the original words stand part of the Question.

The House divided:

Ayes 259, Noes 311.

Division No. 67]


6.59 pm


Abrahams, Debbie

Ahmed-Sheikh, Ms Tasmina

Ali, Rushanara

Allen, Mr Graham

Anderson, Mr David

Arkless, Richard

Ashworth, Jonathan

Austin, Ian

Bailey, Mr Adrian

Bardell, Hannah

Barron, rh Kevin

Beckett, rh Margaret

Benn, rh Hilary

Berger, Luciana

Betts, Mr Clive

Black, Mhairi

Blackford, Ian

Blackman, Kirsty

Blackman-Woods, Dr Roberta

Blenkinsop, Tom

Blomfield, Paul

Boswell, Philip

Bradshaw, rh Mr Ben

Brennan, Kevin

Brock, Deidre

Brown, Alan

Brown, Lyn

Brown, rh Mr Nicholas

Bryant, Chris

Buck, Ms Karen

Burden, Richard

Burgon, Richard

Burnham, rh Andy

Butler, Dawn

Cadbury, Ruth

Cameron, Dr Lisa

Campbell, rh Mr Alan

Campbell, Mr Ronnie

Champion, Sarah

Chapman, Douglas

Cherry, Joanna

Clwyd, rh Ann

Coaker, Vernon

Coffey, Ann

Cooper, Julie

Cooper, Rosie

Cooper, rh Yvette

Cowan, Ronnie

Cox, Jo

Coyle, Neil

Crausby, Mr David

Crawley, Angela

Creagh, Mary

Creasy, Stella

Cruddas, Jon

Cryer, John

Cummins, Judith

Cunningham, Alex

Cunningham, Mr Jim

Dakin, Nic

Danczuk, Simon

David, Wayne

De Piero, Gloria

Docherty, Martin John

Donaldson, Stuart

Doughty, Stephen

Dowd, Jim

Dowd, Peter

Dromey, Jack

Dugher, Michael

Durkan, Mark

Eagle, Ms Angela

Eagle, Maria

Edwards, Jonathan

Efford, Clive

Elliott, Julie

Elliott, Tom

Ellman, Mrs Louise

Esterson, Bill

Evans, Chris

Farrelly, Paul

Ferrier, Margaret

Fletcher, Colleen

Flint, rh Caroline

Flynn, Paul

Fovargue, Yvonne

Foxcroft, Vicky

Gapes, Mike

Gardiner, Barry

Gethins, Stephen

Gibson, Patricia

Glass, Pat

Glindon, Mary

Goodman, Helen

Grady, Patrick

Grant, Peter

Gray, Neil

Green, Kate

Greenwood, Lilian

Greenwood, Margaret

Griffith, Nia

Haigh, Louise

Hanson, rh Mr David

Harman, rh Ms Harriet

Harpham, Harry

Harris, Carolyn

Hayes, Helen

Hayman, Sue

Healey, rh John

Hendrick, Mr Mark

Hendry, Drew

Hepburn, Mr Stephen

Hillier, Meg

Hodgson, Mrs Sharon

Hoey, Kate

Hollern, Kate

Hopkins, Kelvin

Hosie, Stewart

Howarth, rh Mr George

Huq, Dr Rupa

Hussain, Imran

Irranca-Davies, Huw

Jarvis, Dan

Johnson, rh Alan

Johnson, Diana

Jones, Gerald

Jones, Graham

Jones, Mr Kevan

Jones, Susan Elan

Kane, Mike

Keeley, Barbara

Kendall, Liz

Kerevan, George

Kerr, Calum

Kinahan, Danny

Kinnock, Stephen

Kyle, Peter

Lammy, rh Mr David

Lavery, Ian

Law, Chris

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma

Lewis, Clive

Long Bailey, Rebecca

Lucas, Caroline

Lucas, Ian C.

Lynch, Holly

MacNeil, Mr Angus Brendan

Mactaggart, rh Fiona

Madders, Justin

Mahmood, Mr Khalid

Malhotra, Seema

Mann, John

Marris, Rob

Marsden, Mr Gordon

Maskell, Rachael

Matheson, Christian

Mc Nally, John

McCabe, Steve

McCaig, Callum

McCarthy, Kerry

McDonald, Andy

McDonald, Stewart

McDonald, Stuart C.

McDonnell, John

McGarry, Natalie

McGinn, Conor

McGovern, Alison

McInnes, Liz

McLaughlin, Anne

Meale, Sir Alan

Mearns, Ian

Miliband, rh Edward

Monaghan, Carol

Monaghan, Dr Paul

Moon, Mrs Madeleine

Morden, Jessica

Morris, Grahame M.

Mulholland, Greg

Mullin, Roger

Murray, Ian

Newlands, Gavin

Nicolson, John

O'Hara, Brendan

Onn, Melanie

Onwurah, Chi

Osamor, Kate

Oswald, Kirsten

Owen, Albert

Paterson, Steven

Pearce, Teresa

Pennycook, Matthew

Perkins, Toby

Phillips, Jess

Phillipson, Bridget

Pound, Stephen

Powell, Lucy

Pugh, John

Qureshi, Yasmin

Rayner, Angela

Reed, Mr Jamie

Reed, Mr Steve

Rees, Christina

Reynolds, Jonathan

Rimmer, Marie

Ritchie, Ms Margaret

Robertson, Angus

Robinson, Mr Geoffrey

Salmond, rh Alex

Saville Roberts, Liz

Sharma, Mr Virendra

Sheerman, Mr Barry

Sheppard, Tommy

Sherriff, Paula

Shuker, Mr Gavin

Siddiq, Tulip

Skinner, Mr Dennis

Slaughter, Andy

Smeeth, Ruth

Smith, rh Mr Andrew

Smith, Angela

Smith, Cat

Smith, Jeff

Smith, Nick

Smith, Owen

Smyth, Karin

Spellar, rh Mr John

Starmer, Keir

Stephens, Chris

Stevens, Jo

Streeting, Wes

Stringer, Graham

Stuart, Ms Gisela

Tami, Mark

Thewliss, Alison

Thomas-Symonds, Nick

Thomson, Michelle

Thornberry, Emily

Timms, rh Stephen

Trickett, Jon

Turley, Anna

Turner, Karl

Twigg, Derek

Twigg, Stephen

Umunna, Mr Chuka

Vaz, rh Keith

Vaz, Valerie

Weir, Mike

Whiteford, Dr Eilidh

Whitehead, Dr Alan

Whitford, Dr Philippa

Williams, Hywel

Williams, Mr Mark

Wilson, Corri

Winnick, Mr David

Winterton, rh Ms Rosie

Wishart, Pete

Woodcock, John

Wright, Mr Iain

Zeichner, Daniel

Tellers for the Ayes:

Marion Fellows


Owen Thompson


Adams, Nigel

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Ansell, Caroline

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Barwell, Gavin

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Mr Henry

Benyon, Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Berry, James

Bingham, Andrew

Blackman, Bob

Blackwood, Nicola

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Borwick, Victoria

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bradley, Karen

Brady, Mr Graham

Brazier, Mr Julian

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burns, Conor

Burns, rh Sir Simon

Burrowes, Mr David

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, Alun

Cameron, rh Mr David

Carmichael, Neil

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Mr Christopher

Churchill, Jo

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Colvile, Oliver

Costa, Alberto

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crouch, Tracey

Davies, Byron

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Dr James

Davies, Mims

Davies, Philip

Davis, rh Mr David

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Donaldson, rh Mr Jeffrey M.

Donelan, Michelle

Dorries, Nadine

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Drax, Richard

Drummond, Mrs Flick

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellison, Jane

Ellwood, Mr Tobias

Elphicke, Charlie

Eustice, George

Evans, Graham

Evans, Mr Nigel

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Foster, Kevin

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Freer, Mike

Fuller, Richard

Fysh, Marcus

Gale, Sir Roger

Garnier, rh Sir Edward

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, Mr David

Ghani, Nusrat

Gibb, Mr Nick

Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl

Glen, John

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Richard

Grant, Mrs Helen

Gray, Mr James

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gummer, Ben

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matthew

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Hart, Simon

Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Mr Adam

Hopkins, Kris

Howarth, Sir Gerald

Howell, John

Howlett, Ben

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, Mr Nick

Jackson, Mr Stewart

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, Boris

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Kennedy, Seema

Kirby, Simon

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lancaster, Mark

Latham, Pauline

Leadsom, Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Leslie, Charlotte

Letwin, rh Mr Oliver

Lewis, Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lilley, rh Mr Peter

Lord, Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Lumley, Karen

Mackinlay, Craig

Mackintosh, David

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Mr Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Mathias, Dr Tania

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McCartney, Jason

McCartney, Karl

McPartland, Stephen

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Miller, rh Mrs Maria

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Mordaunt, Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Mowat, David

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Neill, Robert

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, Caroline

Norman, Jesse

Nuttall, Mr David

Offord, Dr Matthew

Parish, Neil

Patel, rh Priti

Paterson, rh Mr Owen

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Perry, Claire

Phillips, Stephen

Philp, Chris

Pickles, rh Sir Eric

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Daniel

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Mr Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Gavin

Robinson, Mary

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Selous, Andrew

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Solloway, Amanda

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Mr Desmond

Swire, rh Mr Hugo

Syms, Mr Robert

Thomas, Derek

Throup, Maggie

Timpson, Edward

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Tugendhat, Tom

Turner, Mr Andrew

Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew

Vaizey, Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watkinson, Dame Angela

Wharton, James

Whately, Helen

Wheeler, Heather

White, Chris

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williams, Craig

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wilson, Mr Rob

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Tellers for the Noes:

Jackie Doyle-Price


Guy Opperman

Question accordingly negatived.

9 Sep 2015 : Column 506

9 Sep 2015 : Column 507

9 Sep 2015 : Column 508

9 Sep 2015 : Column 509

Deferred Divisions

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 41A(3)),

That, at this day’s sitting, Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply to the motion in the name of the Prime Minister relating to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.—(Sarah Newton.)

Question agreed to.

9 Sep 2015 : Column 510

Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament


That Sir Alan Duncan, Mr Dominic Grieve, Mr George Howarth, Fiona Mactaggart, Angus Robertson, Mr Keith Simpson and Ms Gisela Stuart be appointed to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament under Section 1 of the Justice and Security Act 2013.—(Dr Thérèse Coffey.)