Farron: Government has dishonoured Britain’s humanitarian legacy

The Commons had the chance to help 3000 of the most vulnerable children on the planet tonight, children who are currently trapped in refugee camps in Europe.

It was close – only 18 votes in it. The opposition came heartbreakingly close to winning the vote. I feel utterly disgusted at the 294 MPs who supported the Government’s position.

Tim Farron was equally unimpressed:

The Lords has the chance to reinstate this amendment tomorrow. Let’s hope that they take it. Lib Dem Lords will all be voting for it. Baroness Meral Ece said on Twitter tonight:

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Apr '16 - 11:05pm

    The difference between the kindertransport in the 1930s and this terrible situation , is the complacent belief that refugees in camps now ,are already being dealt with.

    The difference between the Ugandan Asians being dealt with in a humane way in the 1970s and the Syrian and other refugees inhumane treatment now, is, Roy Jenkins !

    We have a very shoddy government , but Tim needs to face up to something much of our party needs to face up to , we have a very shoddy EU ! Where is the panEuropean co operation ? Where , in the expedient and illogical ,rather grubby deal with Turkey, a country that is as much a part of the problem now as part of the solution ?

    Reform , yes , better than Brexit .How , when , if ?!

    If Tim sounded more realistic and robust on that , which is what the policy of our party actually is , and should be more , and on immigration ,where our party policy is also , traditionally , realistic and robust , he might be listened to more on these matters where he shows the genuine humanity of the fine man that he is .

    We are in the middle of a humanitarian crisis at the same time as a security crisis . We know the one is caused by the other .Many know it too but are more concerned with safety.

    All the more need to be tough as well as tender at times.

  • Lorenzo

    It was Ted Heath that arranged for the Ugandan Asians to come to the UK in 1972,Roy Jenkins was Shadow Chancellor in the Labour opposition from 1970 – 74

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Apr '16 - 4:01am

    Yes, sorry , the actual crisis was of course dealt with admirably by Ted Heath and his Home Secretary , Robert Carr, I was thinking back to my reading of the subsequent reuniting of Asian Ugandan families , later on , in 1974, which is something Roy Jenkins as Home Secretary then ,dealt with , again in a humane way .I have read so much by and about Roy Jenkins, and his time as Home Secretary , both earlier in the 60s , and later in the 70s, and I think it all shows just how a combination of tough and tender, to put it and that way , can work .

    The work of Carr was of course admirable , and a contrast to the mess today , although the numbers , in their tens of thousands , were very small compared to the crisis now .

  • matt severn 26th Apr '16 - 7:35am

    If I add up the number of MPs currently whipped by each opposition party: 8 libdem + 229 labour + 54 snp + 3 plaid + 1 green = 295 MPs one more than gov votes tonight! not counting tory rebels. So why didn’t we win? Where was everyone?

  • @ Lorenzo Cherin Sorry Lorenzo, but I think you might be mixing up the Kenyan Asian ‘crisis’ in 1968 and the Ugandan issue several years later. Jenkins was no longer Home Secretary in 1968 – he was Chancellor. Jim Callaghan was Home Secretary with David Ennals as Under-Secretary. But Jenkins swallowed his ‘liberal’ principles and toed the party line.

    I happened to be in the Liberal Whip’s office on the last night of the debate on the 1968 Immigration Bill when Ennals wound up on a bill rushed through in three days. I well remember Michael Winstanley – the Cheadle Liberal MP – coming in after the vote and exploding with anger at Ennal’s winding up speech. I don’t think the words he used would get through the system on LDV. Ennals incidentally had been a Liberal candidate back in the 1950’s for, I think, Richmond Surrey.

    The Callaghan/Ennals 1968 Act restricted the future right of entry previously enjoyed by Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies (holding British passports) , to those born there or who had a least one parent or grandparent born there. It was introduced amid concerns that up to 200,000 Kenyan Asians fleeing that country’s “Africanization” policy, would take up their right to reside in the UK. The bill went through parliament in three days, supported by the leadership of both the governing Labour and main opposition Conservative parties, The only opposition was a few Conservatives including Iain Macleod and Michael Heseltine, and the twelve Liberal MP’s.

    You might find an article from the New Stateman interesting if you google

    “When Labour played the racist card – New Statesman – http://www.newstatesman.com

  • If Scotland had voted YES in 2014, we could easily have taken these children in.

    Unionists, who wilfully campaigned in 2014 for Scotland have these heartless tories as overlords, should hang their heads in shame again today.

  • nigel hunter 26th Apr '16 - 10:54am

    It looks like most of the Tory party voted to keep them in the camps. They say that by bringing them over more would fall into the hands of traffickers.It implies they will let them in then wash their hands of them, Are we turning into a ruthless selfish right wing fear ridden country that does not like others who are different from us.

  • nigel hunter 26th Apr '16 - 11:03am

    I find it interesting that this vote was booked for Monday just before the NHS strike when the media could be distracted. It was not even mentioned on the BBC news headlines I have heard. Good luck to the Lords in reversing the vote

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Apr '16 - 6:21pm

    No , David , thanks , for your input ,actually my response to John above , shows the mix up was forgetting the detail I remember from reading , as I was only a tiny tot at the time , that Roy Jenkins in his second period as Home Secretary did deal with the reuniting of husbands and families who had partially settled here in 73, but some had been separated .

    You re right to allude to the Kenyan situation , in which , though Callahan was reasonably proactive , not as good as Carr , in the Heath government on the Ugandan crisis , and not as good as Jenkins at all !

  • Lorenzo Cherin 26th Apr '16 - 6:29pm


    David , your correct criticism of Callaghan , by the way , when I said proactive I was being kind , as I have never been a fan of his and was not as a boy , even as ex Labour ,and interesting mention of Heseltine, who I have always had a bit of a liking for , though I have never been a Tory , puts things into perspective , on the need to see everyone as individuals !!!

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