Moran: Britain’s response to Taliban is a story of betrayal

Witing in yesterday’s i newspaper, Layla Moran said we must help Afghans in the UK by moving them out of hotels and into homes.

The UK Government promised that our doors would be open to Afghans at risk – including women, LGBTQ+ people and minority groups – but it has shut them as soon as they thought nobody was looking.

What about those who did make it to the UK?… Ten thousand Afghans remain stuck in hotels up and down the country… A significant proportion of these people put their lives on the line to help UK forces during the war and were promised the chance to start a new life here in the UK. Instead, they’ve been left in limbo by the Conservative Government.

A year on government promises to Afghans and to the British public lie in tatters, Moran says. “We will not let those commitments be forgotten.”

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. Layla Moran said in her article:

Last August, in a special Parliamentary session taking place just days after the Taliban retook Afghanistan’s capital city Kabul, Boris Johnson made three clear pledges by which the UK Government should be judged.

First, that the Government would “be doing everything [it could] to support those who have helped the UK mission in Afghanistan” including setting up a bespoke resettlement scheme “focusing on the most vulnerable, particularly women and children. Second, to do “everything that we [could] to avert a humanitarian crisis”. And finally, to give to “our all to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming a breeding ground for terrorism”.

But a year on, those promises to Afghans and to the British public, lie in tatters. We will not let those commitments be forgotten.

The first promise – helping those who are particularly vulnerable in Afghanistan – has been a source of shame for the Conservative Government. What seemed like pitiful ambition at the time (a commitment to resettling 5,000 Afghans in the first year, and up to 20,000 in the long-term), has unravelled even further.

Many of the initial places were granted to people who were already in the UK. Women and girls in Afghanistan, who were meant to be a priority, were left without a specific route to apply. Foreign Office officials have admitted that many of those who helped the UK will not be resettled in the UK.

The promise of averting a humanitarian crisis was always going to be hard to achieve. And right now, nearly 20 million people face “potentially life-threatening” hunger. But ministers have shown neither sufficient interest provided the necessary financial support.

The government must open up safe and legal routes so that those at risk in Afghanistan can come to the UK so that Afghans can finally start their new lives in this country in a home, rather than a hotel room. It must restore the international development and lead on the world stage by hosting a security summit with our allies, to ensure terrorism doesn’t flourish in Afghanistan once more.

By taking these steps, we can finally uphold our obligations to Afghans.

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  • nigel hunter 17th Aug '22 - 11:17am

    Then we should be campaigning to search for ALL unused homes and build RAPIDLY prefabs (modular homes) to house people.That means having a constructive housing policy.

  • Helen Dudden 17th Aug '22 - 11:32am

    We do have a housing crisis. Habinteg Housing are pushing for more suitable housing for those in Wheelchairs. One disabled person crawls up a flight of stairs to a bathroom. Many are stuck in their homes. My wheelchair remains stuck behind my front door being charged and blocking escape.
    Ive waited for seven years.
    There are no miracle cures, I fear for the green belt. We need farming to continue even though the government is pushing other countries produce.
    The many coming on boats, I fear choices will be made in a knee jerk reaction, those like me will lose the chance for a decent home.

  • Andrew MacGregor 17th Aug '22 - 1:40pm

    Excellent points by Layla in respect of those stuck in a brutal (home office created) limbo. Perhaps one of her first enquiries to the new leader of the Tory Govt should highlight this ignominy and demand positive action to get those promised help housed.
    Helen, makes a good point about the shortage of housing in her reply, but as we know, that is partly down to the way developers have been given free reign as much as possible recently, and the long term prevention of authority developments – in order to make the councils buy from private developers. We know also that immigration added £15bn a year to the economy, but none of that was ever invested in housing, schools and services. Rather the last 5 Govts gave it away as tax breaks. Had this money been invested in housing for those in need like those highlighted in Helen’s response, then there would be less push back on accepting those in need as we are committed to assisting.

  • The country had a housing crisis in 1945. Solutions were found, like the building of prefabs, and allowing people to squat in unused buildings. The prefabs were small and temporary, but many protested when they demolished and the tenants rehoused. There are enough houses, or sites with permission to build houses to make a huge difference. We need the will to do it.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 17th Aug '22 - 11:21pm

    Terrific speech by Layla.

    Excellent comments also.

    You would think govts would understand the simple economic principle, applied to the important social context, supply and demand.

    Liberal Democrats supply intelligence. And from govts we demand better!

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