On Monday, Mr Burrowes secured an Urgent Question to the Home Secretary. This parliamentary mechanism required the Home Secretary to attend the House of Commons and answer questions from Mr Burrowes as well as other members of Parliament. He pressed her for assurance that almost 400 children with a legal right to reside in the UK would be in a place of safety before the imminent destruction of the Calais Jungle on 17th October.
Mr Burrowes said: “Does the Home Secretary acknowledge that until we have a plan for the safety of vulnerable children in Calais, the Prime Minister’s words on the importance of standing up for the weak being just that—words?”
The Home Secretary responded: “I have made it crystal clear to the French Interior Minister on numerous occasions, including at our meeting today, that our priority must be to ensure the safety and security of children during any camp clearance”.
MPs on both sides of the house proceeded to question the Home Secretary for an hour, urging her to uphold the UK’s legal and moral obligation to these unaccompanied children.
In contrast Enfield Council have demonstrated reluctance in accepting Syrian families. Following a Parliamentary Question to the Home Office, Mr Burrowes revealed that the Council, despite signing a motion welcoming refugees, has not provided any places under the vulnerable person’s relocation scheme. This is in stark contrast to other London Boroughs such as Camden who have now taken 30; Islington who have taken 10; and Barnet who have taken 6 under the vulnerable person’s relocation scheme.
The Council supported the motion on 24th September which stated: “Enfield Council notes the desperate plight of refugees fleeing Syria and seeking safety in the countries of the EU. This Council will work with other London Councils to play a part in a national response to the crisis. This Council, however, insists that the Government must fully fund the national response for as long as it takes and not just for one year.”
David said: “Considering the Government has now made it ‘crystal clear’ that the UK must prioritise the safety and security of children who are eligible for resettlement to the UK, I disappointed that Enfield Council are not following other London Councils in providing places for child refugees following relocation schemes. The Council must step up and deliver on their commitment to take their fair share of vulnerable children who have a legal right to be in the UK”.
Cllr Nick Dines said: “It has been over a year since Labour Councillors stood up and endlessly criticised the Government for its stance on refugees and how much help was being offered. In that time Conservative and, yes, Labour Councils across the UK have been pro-active in housing those who are fleeing horrors in Syria that would cause any one of us to leave our homes.
“Yet it turns out that still Enfield Council has still not housed any refugees. The issue of immigration is complicated but like the Government I agree that we should support those who are looking to leave war behind them. The Labour Council should take action, stop hiding behind excuses, blaming others for their own inactivity and get on with helping those in need.”
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