Tag Archives: christine jardine

Christine Jardine: What happened to our humanity, our open arms and our desire to give children the best start in life?

Christine Jardine spoke movingly in a parliamentary debate this week about the plight of refugee children separated from their families. She called on the UK Government to make it easier for refugee children to find their families and to reunite these families.

Here’s her speech in full.

Imagine having to say goodbye to your child, or finding yourself suddenly separated from them without knowing what will happen to them, whether anyone will look after them or whether they will find the rest of your family, if you still have one. That is the situation facing parents among the 22 million refugees across the world. Families are fleeing war or persecution, looking for nothing more than safety and somewhere to live together in peace. Recently, I visited the Red Cross in Scotland and met families who came to this country looking for that very peace and sanctuary. They are now living together in Scotland and making a valuable contribution to their communities. However, we know that it is not the same for all families; for many, things have become impossible.

As a nation, we have been moved by photographs such as the one mentioned by the hon. Member for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill (Hugh Gaffney)—pictures of children who have lost their lives or been orphaned because of the conflict in Syria. In the Holocaust Memorial Day debate, we heard moving stories from hon. Members about the flight of their families from Nazi persecution and the sanctuary they found here, yet our approach to reuniting refugee families and immigration procedures is one that I, for one, find depressing. What happened to our humanity, our open arms and our desire to give children the best start in life, regardless of geography?

As we have heard, the EU’s Dublin III regulation determines which EU state decides a person’s asylum application. In 2016, under the regulation’s criteria, 700 children were transferred from other European countries to join family members in the UK, but none of us knows what the situation will be after Brexit. We need the UK Government to improve the system to make it easier for children to find their families. They need to amend the immigration rules on refugee family reunions to make it easier for close family members—siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles—with refugee or humanitarian protection status to sponsor children in their family to join them in the UK. They also need to lessen the conditions that must be met by non-refugee sponsors, and help with legal aid for refugee family reunions.

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Christine Jardine’s speech for Holocaust Memorial Day

Ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day tomorrow, here’s Christine Jardine’s speech from the Commons debate last week.

It is an honour to take part in this debate in remembrance of an event that, in its own way, challenges the power of words adequately to express the horror and sorrow of the holocaust.

Three years ago I visited the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel. As I was taken around that remarkable monument, the experience was at times emotional, as well as inspiring and thought-provoking throughout. It is a dark, oppressive space—a tunnel in a hillside—and as we travelled through it, guided as we were by a holocaust survivor, the personal testimonies we heard and the things we saw represented to me one of the bleakest periods in modern history—indeed, human history.

When our tour focused on the concentration camps, my mind was flooded with thoughts of the survivors I have been privileged to meet as we heard the testimonies of the suffering. I also thought about the young people I know who have visited what remains of the concentration camps across Europe, and about their reactions.

My daughter, who was born more than half a century after the war ended, visited because she felt she had to but, unlike other places of historical importance she has visited, it is something she rarely talks about. Like many, we took her as a child to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam, and she was fascinated. When we came home she fell in love with the words of that youngster who lived her life hidden because it was the only life she was allowed. Hers were informative, moving words.

When my daughter has visited other memorials she has talked about them, but not when she came home from visiting Theresienstadt, which represented something more. She faced up to the fact that it was all real; that this was where so many stories, like that of the little girl living in a loft whose powerful words she had fallen in love with, had ended; and that if that horror were ever to return, many of the people she loved would meet the same fate. Perhaps it was a similar feeling that moved Andrew Dismore on his visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and we should thank that visit for enabling us to dedicate a day to holocaust remembrance, but how do we adequately remember an event when its sheer horror challenges everything we want to believe about humanity and ourselves? How?

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Vince, Christine, Jo and Layla marked out as politicians to watch in 2018

Over at HITC, Richard Wood has produced a list of politicians to watch this year.

Vince Cable, Layla Moran and Christine Jardine get mentions:

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has failed to make much of an impact this year. But with the Brexit drum beating louder than ever before, and the UK just one year away from exiting the EU, Brexit anxiety will likely increase, thus resulting in Cable rising to prominence. Cable and his party will likely capitalise on remain sentiment, but can he expand on that and turn the Liberal Democrats into more than just the anti-Brexit party?

Keep an …

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Christine Jardine stands up for WASPI women

Women born in the 1950s face an unexpected wait of the best part of a decade before they can get their State Pension. When they started their working lives they would have expected to be able to retire at 60. Now they have to wait until they are 67. The principle of the age going up and being equal with men is not in question. That women have had such a steep and disproportionate rise without being properly informed by the Government is an issue that needs to be addressed.

These women were at the sharp end of the gender pay gap for their working lives so any occupational pension they have is likely to be less than a man in the same job. Now they are being disadvantaged in their retirement years too.

Liberal Democrat MPs Christine Jardine and Stephen Lloyd are co-sponsors of a Bill that aims to look at ways of putting this right. It’s due to get its second reading early next year.

In a Commons debate this week, Christine explained the impact of the changes on the 6000 women affected in her constituency and pointed out that failure to get this right may mean that MPs may have their retirement dates chosen for them earlier than they expected.

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Christine Jardine remembers Dr Elsie Inglis

It’s 100 years this week since Dr Elsie Inglis, doctor, pioneer of women’s hospitals and suffragist died. During the first world war, her offer to establish a medical unit staffed by female professionals was rebuffed by the War Office who told her to go home and sit still. She didn’t give up and instead the French government took up her offer and set her unit up in Serbia.

Dr Inglis was remembered yesterday in a Westminster Hall debate. Here’s our Christine Jardine’s contribution:

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Christine Jardine: Politicians must live up to their honourable titles

Here’s Christine Jardine MP talking on Politics Scotland about the need for all parties to take action to protect staff and volunteers from harassment.

An independent body is all very well, she says, but political parties can’t abrogate responsibility and say it’s nothing to do with them.

Then in Friday’s Scotmsn she said that the current harassment scandal might be the “lightning rod” for “cultural change”

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Lib Dems step up attack on Universal Credit

Liberal Democrats have played their part in making sure that the inadequacies of Universal Credit have been highlighted. In the debate on Wednesday,  Christine Jardine said:

We hear that, instead of it helping, as many as 1 million children could be pushed into poverty by 2020. That surely cannot be the legacy that my Conservative colleagues would want to leave for future generations. They surely cannot be content with what they are hearing in this Chamber from constituents and even their own Back Benchers: that families are facing rent arrears and the threat of losing their homes; that there is anxiety about missed payments; and that people are choosing between making those payments or feeding their families.

Citizens Advice Scotland has already seen more than 100,000 people, one in five of whom have waited more than six weeks for payments—and only 14 areas in Scotland have UC. We stand at an important crossroads: the Government have the opportunity to pause UC, address its many flaws and say to those coping with the cruel reality of this botched benefit reform, “We hear you. We recognise the problem and we will fix it.”

Stephen Lloyd caught Iain Duncan Smith out one of those economic with the truth moments:

Secondly, the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), a former Secretary of State, said that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has supported universal credit. I was a bit surprised by that, so I did a quick check. The JRF actually said that it would support universal credit if it was properly funded—I just mentioned the £3 billion—and if payment and waiting times were reduced, which is exactly what many people have been saying today.

The media reports yesterday that the Government is ready to make changes on the amount of time people are waiting for money, but that isn’t the only problem with Universal Credit. It’s interesting that Labour now accepts the principles behind Universal Credit – that it should end the poverty trap. Until the Tories got a majority, that’s exactly what it would have done. There was enough money in there to ensure that people could move into work and not lose their benefits. Then May 2015 happened and George Osborne took billions out of the system.

So, our Work and Pensions Spokesperson Stephen Lloyd and Leader Vince Cable have written to the the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ask him to sort this out in the budget. They said:

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