Speaking about the crisis, Nia Griffith MP said:
“Many of you, will, like me, have been shocked at the appalling tragedy of refugees dying on the shores of Europe and very disturbed at the attitude shown by the Prime Minister David Cameron and parroted by the likes of Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb MP. I believe that many people in the UK would want to offer a welcome to refugees after the unimaginable hardship they have suffered – cities destroyed around them and never knowing if the family will all return home in the evening.
We should be showing leadership on this issue, firstly as MPs here, and then together with our EU partners. As I am sure many of you,in the case of Syria, Turkey has taken in 2 million refugees, Lebanon has 1 million (in a country with only a few million people) and Jordan hundreds of thousands likewise. We should be working out there and taking our share of refugees directly, and thus avoiding people falling prey to the most dreadful exploitation and journeys, often ending in tragedy. (Shamefully although we have raised it repeatedly in parliament, Theresa May has repeatedly refused even to let the UK take its UN allocation of refugees from Syria… which makes me feel very ashamed, particularly when you look at what much poorer countries have done).
Working together with the other 27 EU countries, we could organise similar help on the borders of the handful of other countries where people are fleeing violence (where again it is the neighbouring countries ….. Often very poor ones with enough of their own problems …… taking in the majority of refugees and desperately in need of help).
As a Labour MP, I have this week been in touch with my senior Labour colleagues with responsibility in this area, to urge them to use their roles to put pressure on Government Ministers to take more positive action: our Acting Labour Leader Harriet Harman MP has written to Prime Minister David Cameron to urge positive action and help, and Mary Creagh, MP our Shadow Secretary of State for International Development is going out to Lebanon to see exactly how the UK could help more directly. I am also participating in an initiative started by Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow home Secretary and Chris Bryant MP, Shadow Culture Secretary, to write to local organisations and groups to ask them to show their support this weekend and over the coming weeks by displaying banners and signs with the simple logo #refugeeswelcome. I would be very grateful for any help in getting this message out, so that we can show our decision makers and the refugees themselves that we do want to help, and want the UK to do more.”