“I’d open my home to refugees”: Local MPs react to the refugee crisis as Cameron is forced to act

Syrian children refugees. Pic: Wikipedia Commons

Syrian children refugees. Pic: Wikipedia Commons

MPs in the EastLondonLine areas are joining the mounting chorus of voices asking Prime Minister David Cameron to respond to the European refugee crisis.

Steve Reed, a Labour Croydon MP, has said that he would open up his home to refugees from the Middle East, as the world responded in horror to the photograph of a drowned Syrian toddler. Reed joined many of his other colleagues in criticizing the Conservative government’s response to the crisis.

Reed said: “We have a long and proud record of helping people fleeing war and conflict, and it’s shameful that our Prime Minister refuses to reach out to them. We are big enough to offer more sanctuary to people in Britain.”

Heidi Alexander, a Lewisham MP, has called Cameron’s position on the crisis ‘disgraceful’. When confronted by Alexander, Cameron responded that Britain is ‘fulfilling its moral obligations’ by picking up people in the Mediterranean. He added that Britain is one of the few rich countries of the world who have kept their promise in regards to their aid budget.

Alexander has recently asked her followers on Twitter to source a crowdfunding campaign, urging them to help those in need. The campaign Alexander supports can be found here.

Prospective London Mayoral candidate and Hackney MP, Diane Abbott, also asked for online support from her followers by asking them to sign a petition that would pressure Cameron to accept more asylum seekers.

The petition currently has 421,388 signatures and the Parliament will normally consider all petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures for a debate.

Currently, there are 216 refugees who have been successfully resettled to the UK under a five-year humanitarian scheme. This number fades in comparison with that of other countries such as Germany, who are expected to accept 800,000 refugees in 2015.

All of the above mentioned MPs are shedding light on the fact that the UK is not offering proportional asylum in comparison with European counterparts. With an estimated 173,100 asylum applications, Germany was the largest recipient of new asylum claims in 2014. The third largest recipient is Turkey (87,800) followed by Sweden (75,100) and Italy (63,700). By comparison, the UK received 31,300 new applications for asylum by the end of 2014.

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