There are unprecendented numbers of people fleeing wartorn countries to settle in mainland Europe and the UK. In April 2016, Parliament supported proposals put forward by Lord Alf Dubbs, himself a refugee to England fleeing Germany during the Second World War. However, on Thursday 9th February Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, announced the scheme to home child refugees was coming to a close with just 350 children taken in by the UK.
The scheme, legislated on in April 2016, called for the UK to rehome 3,000 children, those left without families, or indeed with family members in Britain with whom they could reunite. Despite pressure from constituents in Lewes keen to see these children helped, Conservative MP Maria Caulfield has flipped and flopped over the proposal, first voting against the Amendment, then supporting the bill as amended.
Her own website adds to the confusion stating first;
“It is my opinion that those young people remaining in Syria should be our priority, and therefore I very much welcome this Governments approach. It is also why I chose not to support Lord Dubs amendment.
as she voted against at first, then voted for the bill as amended by the Dubs Amendment at the next reading, saying;
“I supported the Dubs amendments in Parliament so that refugees could be reunited with family members and I am currently working with local groups in Lewes to help support East Sussex County Council and Lewes District Council in taking in refugees locally”
Kelly-Marie Blundell, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Lewes, who took part in the 10,000 strong Refugees Welcome march in 2016, commented;
“Maria Caulfield is being insincere in her comments on child refugees.
“Constituents would be right to question whether she is in fact looking at the interests of child refugees, or simply following the Conservative whip.
“Either way, with her tacit support for the closure of the scheme, it is the children seeking sanctuary who will suffer.
“Lewes District Council have expressed an interest in continuing to help house refugees. But the Conservative Council clearly do not have the support of the Conservative MP.
“Who would vote to turn away children seeking sanctuary? It beggars belief.”