The refugee crisis - time for Britain to show moral leadership


Just a few days ago the world bore witness to the tragic reality of refugees fleeing from war-torn Syria. 

The site of the motionless body of a beautiful little boy, a little boy called Alyan Kurdi lying in the sand, broke millions of hearts, caused oceans of tears and focused millions of minds to wake up.

To wake up and respond to our human brothers, sisters and children and provide sanctuary on the shores of Britain and Europe. 

Many of our European neighbours have done so, providing moral leadership and solidarity with those families seeking refuge.

I am ashamed to say that Great Britain - my country, our country, and specifically this government’s response, was and still is, pitiful.

As Sir Gerald Kaufman, MP for Manchester Gorton, quite rightly illustrated only yesterday, Germany gave refuge to over 10,000 people in one day. Yet David Cameron’s government plans to provide sanctuary to less than half of that number in a whole year.

What gives me heart is the warm and compassionate response to the plight of refugees from people in communities such as the one I represent.

Ashton–under–Lyne and Tameside has a proud history of providing refuge and sanctuary to those in need. From those fleeing Nazi Germany to those, more recently, escaping the war in the Balkans.

The Leader of Tameside council, Cllr Kieran Quinn wasted no time in heeding the clarion call to help, publicly offering refuge and support. Oldham's Labour leader Jim McMahon echoed those human sentiments. 

The Tameside and Oldham way, and our great British tradition of compassion and care, is in contrast with the response of the Prime Minister and his government.

As a mother of young children, and as a fellow parent, I urge the government to be bolder in their response.

Show compassion, care, and, dare I say it, a little love, to help those children and families fleeing for their lives.  


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