Protecting refugees

While there will be changes to our immigration system as a result of Brexit, it must be stressed that refugees are not migrants. Refugees have been forced from their homes by war, famine or other disasters, and Brexit must not be used as an excuse to renege on our legal and moral obligations.

The manifesto I stood on at the recent General Election pledged to produce a cross-departmental strategy to meet our international obligations on the refugee crisis. Our country has a proud history of helping those fleeing conflict and persecution. We must continue to play our part by taking our fair share of refugees.

We must continue to meet our obligations under the Dublin Regulation to reunite refugees with family members in the UK. Refugee camps in Europe are overcrowded and there continue to be worrying allegations of mistreatment of people in the camps, including children. The government should be more transparent about its efforts to process claims under the Dublin regulation from people who have made it to countries such as Greece and Italy.

We could also do more to help unaccompanied child refugees in Europe. I am very disappointed that the government has ended the Dubs scheme after resettling far fewer unaccompanied children than anticipated. Unaccompanied child migrants are highly vulnerable to trafficking, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse. The government should  restore the Dubs scheme.

The government has legal and moral obligations to refugees that it needs to fulfil. I will follow this issue closely.