Sir Menzies: “Unfortunate” that coalition will not let Syrian refugees come to UK

The Independent reports Sir Menzies Campbell’s comments on the decision by the Coalition Government not to join other countries in allowing 10,000 refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict where, let’s not forget, chemical weapons have been used. Sir Menzies was not complimentary, that’s for sure:

It’s unfortunate, to put it as mildly as I possibly can, that we have closed our minds to that possibility when other countries in Europe have taken a much more generous position.

The Independent’s view is that Sir Menzies represents the Liberal Democrat view:

Mr Campbell’s view represents that of many of his colleagues in the Liberal Democrats who would like the Government to take a more hospitable view towards Syrian refugees.

I am not one bit surprised by the Government’s attitude, given that they wouldn’t even let the Syrian husband of a UK citizen friend of mine in this Summer when it looked as though we might be bombing the place. When the Red Cross is talking about 2 million refugees needing help, half of them children, even the Americans and other Europeans taking 10,000 each seems a bit mean. UNICEF had this to say about the plight of babies and children there the other day:

In crowded and unhygienic conditions in refugee camps and settlements, where temperatures can drop as low as minus six degrees, babies are at high risk of diseases such as pneumonia.

“Too many Syrian newborns are spending their crucial first months living in terrible conditions that no child should ever have to experience,” said UNICEF UK’s Jon Sparkes.

“Countless babies are at increased risk of infections, disease and even death and we need to act urgently to reach and protect more children in desperate need.”

Hundreds of thousands of children have missed out on routine immunisations for more than two years and are now vulnerable to diseases like measles and polio. Syria has been hit with its first outbreak of polio in 14 years.

While it’s great that the UK Government is matching donations to UNICEF’s Syria Winter appeal (donate here), surely we should be doing more for people in such desperate need in such horrible conditions.


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

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  • Nigel Farage calls for Syrian refugees to be allowed into UK

    I wonder what it would take to make this government feel ashamed.

  • Bill Chapman 29th Dec '13 - 10:32am

    I suspect we’ll see a few LibDem defections to UKIP.

  • Andrew Colman 30th Dec '13 - 1:15pm

    I back the coallition on this one.

    The government are doing their bit in providing £500 million in aid. The people who need to do more are Arab Countries such as Saudi Arabia who have loads of money and space.

    I would allow a few refugees to come in special circumstances eg Christian minorities fleeing persecution. The Arab spring has been an Arab Autumn for many Christians .

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