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May promises response on Syrian refugees in next couple of days

27 January 2014

Yvette Cooper chose to focus her attack at Home Office questions on the government’s position on Syrian refugees. She continually pushed Theresa May on whether the the Home office would change its position and sign up to the UN’s refugee programme. May replied that the United Kingdom has a ‘fine record’ when it comes to the amount of money it is providing in aid, and has accepted several thousand asylum seekers from Syria. But added that ‘I am indeed working with the Foreign Secretary to look at what further support can be provided by this government and further announcements will be made on that in due course.’

Cooper pressed further, telling her that a minority of refugees did need extra help. She got a better answer: May then told her that there would be a response from the government on this matter before Labour’s opposition day debate on the subject on Wednesday.

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But it was an attack from another quarter – Sir Menzies Campbell – that bit far deeper than anything Cooper had attempted. He said:

‘Does my right honourable friend understand that many of us believe that on the matter of Syrian refugees, the United Kingdom, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has a particular obligation? How can it be that we’re not able to accept some of the children, who have suffered so grievously as a result of the unrest in Syria. Traumatised, orphaned and in some cases disabled. Surely this is a matter for humanity on the part of this government or are we to allow our moral compass to be set by Mr Nigel Farage?’

May defended the UK’s record, and reiterated that she will offer a response in the next few days, but this does mean that Labour will be able to claim a political victory, suggesting that it was their opposition day vote that brought matters to a head. When some MPs saw this U-turn coming last month, it seems odd that it should take so long for ministers to make up their mind and appear to be in thrall to politicking in the Chamber, rather than the serious matter itself.

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  • Agrippina

    Jumping in does not assist (Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan). History has taught us that until and unless enough blood has been shed, you do not stop anyone, you delay and prolong the conflict.

    When sadly too many lives have been lost, then and only then, are the protagonists willing to sit down and negotiate a settlement. That is the sadness of war. We are not developed enough to see that and the West constantly trying to intervene when issues are outstanding do not assist at all. This civil war in Syria has a way to go yet and eventually the Shia’s and Shite’s will go to war for supremacy.

    For now all we can do is sit and provide aid to the neighbouring countries sheltering the refugees. Encourage the Sauds, Qataris, Kuwaitis, UAE citizens to take in their muslim brothers and sisters and show mercy to the children.

  • Bonkim

    Absolute rubbish – taking in a handful of refugees in will not help the vast majority of them suffering in camps in the countries surrounding Syria.

    The best results would be if Britain plays its fair share with aid at these locations and also help and advice in organisation and specialist help at the location as needed.

    It will be unfair on the millions if 20 or 30,000 are taken in and resettled in Europe. it will also be unfair on the refugees to come and live in a culture and language alien to them.

    I still think Assad has to be stopped – any shilly shallying on his part should be met by threats of severe consequences for him and his evil henchmen.

    Regards the UN – wasted space – no need to take them seriously.

    • Patricia

      “It will be unfair on the millions if 20 or 30,000 are taken in and resettled in Europe. it will also be unfair on the refugees to come and live in a culture and language alien to them.”

      Agreed. They would take forever to assimilate and I daresay they would bring their own political in-fighting with them – of which we have enough, thank you.
      I support aid to them in their own country and other Arab nations should help out. They have all the money in the world.

      • Bonkim

        We should not jump in as soon as we or OXFAM sniffs out hunger and conflicts at remote locations. News media need tot waste time if a boat or two of asylum seekers drown in the Med – such situations will keep on rising as world populations explode and resources deplete, componded by poor social organisation, and blind religion.

  • David Kay

    What a disgusting man Ming Campbell is saying we should let refugees in “or are we to allow our moral compass to be set by Mr Nigel Farage?’” when Mr Farage has said we should let in refugees from syria. Is any other party leader saying the same?

    I cant wait for scottish independence, Ming should be one of the first jocks deported

    • HookesLaw

      Thats his point you berk.
      Meantime Farage has just disowned half his party in a Times interview. All you ‘walter mittys’ who have been swearing blind the sun shines out of his rear end will have to go somewhere else. Are the English Democrats still a going concern?

      Meantime other news on the Bloom front is that UKIP are not going after the hunchback vote.
      And Farage, following a donation from a city gent, thinks all these banking bonuses are a ‘good thing’.

      • David Kay

        oh dear you silly socialist. i disagree with your interpretation of what Ming the mong said. trying to make out Our Lord and Saviour, St Nigel was against syrian refugees when he isnt. He’s the only leader supporting them. Ming lied to Parliament. he should be disciplined by the Standards Committee.

        Meanwhile, some Tory was caught waving a hand gun around and Bloom who isnt a member of UKIP says nasty things. So what? Do you hear me going on about gangster tories with guns? no cos im not interested in tories or their nutters

        Your obsession with UKIP can be easily treated with prozac, it will make you a nicer person as well

        • HookesLaw

          Bloom is still in UKIP I think.
          The tory should be happy because Farage wants to raise the ban on handguns.

          Farage has called his pary a bunch of fruit loops and all you fruit loop squeamed blue murder when Cameron said it. I am happy to accept on line apologies from you lot.

          More to the point Farage now wants UKIP to be something else to what all the nutjobs want; a sensible right wing party with people saying sensible things and toing the party line. But of course we already have a mass party of the Right. Its called the Conservative Party and Farage wants to undermine it and let in Labour.


          • David Kay

            No Bloom was sacked from UKIP and wants to form his own Party now. Please, if your going to be abusive, please make sure your abuse is up to date and credible

            Nigel is talking about legal weapons, where one has to be a fit and proper person. Not ones that gangsters like tory councilors possess. Obviously tories and not fit and proper people when it comes to possession of firearms, nor indeed for that matter, fit and proper people when it comes to government

            • HookesLaw

              He is suspended. He has resigned the party whip but maintains his party membership.

  • David Kay

    i dont mind us taking in 10,000 refugees from syria so long as we deport 100,000 asylum seekers who are capable of returning home because they are no longer at risk

    • HookesLaw

      Facts (Migration Observatory)

      ‘Asylum applications (excluding dependents) rose from 4,256 in 1987
      to a peak of 84,130 in 2002, and then declined to 19,865 in 2011.

      Asylum applicants and their dependents comprised an estimated 7% of
      net migration in 2011, down from 49% in 2002, but up from 4% in 2010.
      In 2011, 67% of initial decisions were refusals. These initial decisions are often appealed: among the 2004-2011 cohorts, 75% of rejected applicants lodged appeals, with a success rate of 22%.

      In 2011 the UK received 0.41 asylum applicants per 1000 people in its
      population, below the European average (0.65 for EU plus Norway and

      — So thats under 20,000 in 2011. I note that 2002 was a year of a labour govt. Do we want to return to that?

      • David Kay

        Hookey, all i want is to let in 10,000 syrian refugees and to deport 100,000 others who have claimed asylum and the protection that my country offers them but who no longer need it

        • HookesLaw

          You may not have noticed by people who are accepted for asylum become citizens and work and pay taxes. You may not like the example but Ed father is a case in point.

          • David Kay

            great, they should take the skills this country has given them and return to their homeland and be very grateful to us. We should tax them on their assets when they leave as well

            And Belgium could certainly do with a decent politician like Ed. Ed might be bad to us, but to Belgium he will be a master politician when compared to the likes of Guy Verhofstadt or Herman Van Rompuy

  • cornelius

    asylum would be fine if people actually returned home when the situation returns to normal after a conflict, the fact that people don’t want to do this (even when it is possible) just proves that asylum is not really about just escaping a conflict.

  • anyfool

    Yvette Cooper that vile woman who fiddled her expenses twice over, will as soon as the Tories are panicked into opening the doors to what will in effect be terrorists or trainee terrorists will start criticising the Tories immigration policies the moment a terrorist offence takes place.
    As there is hundreds of so called British citizens currently practising murder and torture active in Syria, it is only a matter of time.

    • 2trueblue

      Ah the ‘house flipper’ Cooper, married to the man who has no idea how to manage the accounts of the country, or anything else for that matter,

      The UK is way ahead of the pack in subscribing with aid to Syria. the fact that Cooper and Balls are so incontinent with words and lacking in facts to tell the truth. Oh, but it sounds good and is loved by the vacuous media.
      We live in a world where the government has to continually state the obvious because the media are unable to get it.

      • anyfool

        The media do not want to get it, they all ( think? ) the same, they all come from the same finishing school for secret Trots, Oxford and Cambridge.
        Two of the top universities in the world, turn out thousands of people all parroting the same collectivist nonsense, acting in concert to push their agenda.
        What actually will be left of the culture of a country that is mainly responsible for the modern worlds advances.

  • Agrippina

    How many refs have been taken in by Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman etc, they are arming the opposition, they should take in refs. They are large muslim countries with vast sovereign wealth funds, why do we have to take anymore than we already have. The religion is the same, the culture, climate and language the same, much easier for the displaced to settle and rebuild their lives, nothing to do with us.

    Whilst we let the poor elderly and disabled Brits freeze to death in their cold hovels fantastic!

  • swatnan

    Britain would be at the bottom of the list for Syrian refugees after this Govt has made it perfectly clear that immigrants are not welcome here. Dave is pretty red faced after predicting we’ed get thousands of Romanian beggars breaking down the doors of the Benefits Offices; only a handful though turned up by mistake thinking the flight was for Lisbon not London.

    • alabenn

      As they either do not collate or release specific information until long after the fact, a handful could be stated as a throng and no one could disprove either.

  • RavenRandom

    Bring them in. Tomorrow’s terrorists today. Then what about a few South Sudanese? What about the perma-war in the Congo we could resettle thousands… er somewhere. Are there any other conflicts, oh yeah, Afghanistan, Kashmir, a least a good dozen other African countries… and so on.

    Cute kid, not the slightest bit manipulative as a photo. There are 20 something Arab countries, many of them wealthy and big… how about they take them?

    Bring them all to the home of boundless compassion as we drown in immigrants.

    • Agrippina

      That kid has very nicely combed clean hair and the chap behind him positively thriving, nice weight, clean clothes and happy. The kid in front has has had a ‘Damian Day’ makeover, a la Drop the Dead Donkey.

      • Patricia

        Yes, dirty face but groomed hair and clean clothes – well spotted.

      • David Kay

        well spotted indeed. you can see the finger marks on the childs left forehead where the dirt has been rubbed in. It looks like a Pallywood production to me

        • Agrippina

          I assume that is why the little chap is crying, someone has just rubbed dirt all over his clean face.

          Hopefully after the photo call he had it scrubbed clean and was given a bar of chocolate by the photographer.

          • David Kay

            its funny you say that because me and Mrs Kay were saying in order to get him to look like that they probably offered him a bar of chocolate, took it away, got the look, took the photo then gave him the choccy. Is the kid in the background eating some sort of sweet? is that what was offered to the main subject?

            • Agrippina

              It looks like a pencil it has a point, perhaps they pulled them out of a classroom for the pic. It looks like a nice camp in Lebanon.

              The old fellow they have found to put his hand on the boys head has dirty finger nails but his thumbnail is clean, perhaps he is the fellow who put the dirt on the little chap’s face.

              • David Kay

                could be a pencil, could be a candy stick. it certainly looks staged though. I dont know if youve heard of Pallywood, if not google it, it is defined in wiki as

                “media manipulation, distortion and outright fraud by the Palestinians and other Arabs … designed to win the public relations war”

                • Agrippina

                  I haven’t heard of it. But I am pretty much immune to this type of media manipulation. I have watched for years folks coming over to claim asylum and then to discover that they are economic migrants, coupled with the ingratitude and criminality of those who have been given safe haven.

                  I am afraid I think it is best these muslims go to the arab nations bordering Syria, absolutely nothing to do with us. We cannot even take care of our own citizens but let all come in and trough at our expense.

                • David Kay


  • London Calling

    more pressure is needed………..this is good news though…..:)

  • Shorne

    I don’t suppose many supporters of the BDS movement read the Spectator but just in case this is from the Jerusalem Post 0f 24/12/2013;

    “The 200th wounded Syrian refugee was brought into Israel by the IDF for medical care at the Ziv Medical Center in Safed Monday night. The 21-year-old patient was in serious condition with gunshot wounds to his hip and stomach. He was operated on overnight and remains in intensive care.
    Ziv Medical Center began receiving injured Syrian refugees in February of this year, and reported that there are currently 10 Syrians under their care. Israel brought eight refugees to Ziv in the last week alone, including four children.

    The expense of medical care for victims of the Syrian civil war so far has surpassed NIS 14 million (£2,421,874.00).”

    and this from the New York Times

    “As fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels has raged in recent months in areas close to the Israeli-held Golan Heights, scores of Syrian casualties have been discreetly spirited across the hostile frontier for what is often lifesaving treatment in Israel, an enemy country.

    Most are men in their 20s or 30s, many of them with gunshot wounds who presumably were involved in the fighting. But in recent weeks there have been more civilians with blast wounds, among them women and children who have arrived alone and traumatized…Dr. Barhoum, an Arab Christian citizen of Israel, acknowledged that the Israeli medical assistance was “a drop in the ocean.”
    But he said he was proud of the level of treatment his teams could provide and proud to be a citizen of a country that allowed him to treat every person equally. ”

    Relatives accompanying patients have said they cannot say where they been for fear of reprisals

  • HookesLaw

    Attacks from the left, which washed its hands of Syria, are disgusting.
    The govt is doing a lot and its better that refugees stay close to where they can return. As May says we have already been accepting refugees. No doubt we can give medical help to the most needy (i suspect we are doing that anyway) – but such aid should be transferred out of the Aid budget.
    It seems strange that the Spectator should be attacking the govt which is simply doing its duty rather than the hypocrisy of Labour and the sanctimony coming from Campbell.

    • Agrippina

      We are giving more aid than the rest of the EU put together apparently. We do not need to do anymore, mossies want to kill each other, is nothing to do with us.

      They are quick to turn their fire upon us and we do not need the future Brit haters brought in, they are not grateful. Look at the somalis born here and wanting to kill us and joining up with the various flash points ditto the pakistanis etc.

      • HookesLaw

        If someone needs some special surgery I would not object. But with the BBC peddling the story I suppose we will let a few in. I think we can be satisfied indeed proud of our efforts to help suffering.

    • Andy

      True. Parliament was asked if we could intervene and said No. So be it. As you say the left was only too keen for us to wash our hands of Syria, so let the policy follow to its logical conclusion. Let the refugees go to countries in the Arab World, not here.

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