Tim Farron: Britain needs to roll up its sleeves to help refugees

Yesterday, Tim Farron went to the Refugees Welcome rally:

And this is his speech. He had the crowd cheering by the end.

A few weeks ago, I went to Calais. I talked there with about 20 refugees. I heard their stories of harrowing risks, dangers fled, and desperation for their children.

I have to tell you, not a single one of them mentioned benefits.

They wanted to come to Britain to be safe, to work, to contribute.

They see our country as a place of opportunity, a place to make the most of yourself, a place where you can be the best you can be.

Because you don’t risk everything clinging to the bottom of a truck if you’re looking for an easy life.

I met a 14 year-old boy who had broken both of his legs trying to board a lorry, he was in a wheelchair pushed by a boy who was 11. Both had lost their parents, both were alone.

After the second world war, Britain offered homes to up two thousand children whose parents had been murdered in the Holocaust. I know this because around 300 of them came to my constituency to recuperate and became known as the Windermere boys.In all the UK provided homes to 700 such children.

That was all who were left alive to take up our offer.

It could have been so different if the offer had been made earlier but we could not have known that so few would have survived without our help.

We must learn from our mistakes. 20,000 places over five years would have been no use in 1939. It will be no use today. The crisis is now.

And I find myself thinking about the Jewish refugees that our grandparents did save. And about the Uganda Asians to whom we were able to offer a safe haven from that murderous tyrant, Idi Amin.

And it makes me realise the pride I feel in Britain when we do show such generosity of spirit.

So I call on the Government to opt in to the plan to take our fair share of the refugees to be relocated within the EU. An international solution to an international crisis.

This is the Britain in which I want to live.

The Britain that stands tall and rolls up its sleeves to help solve an international crisis; The Britain that is proud of its history of welcoming refugees; the Britain that sees the person, not the label – the small boy – the mirror of ourselves.

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9 Comments

  • Good stuff Farron. It’s a shame Corbyn got all the coverage yesterday.

  • John Tilley 13th Sep '15 - 5:50pm

    I agree with Huw Dawson.

    Tim Farron was ploughing a lonely furrow on welcoming refugees only a few weeks ago. Even here in LDV there were people attacking him even from within our own party.

    This will happen a lot over the next five years.
    With only 8 MPs we will have to struggle hard to gain much serious media coverage. This is the poisoned chalice that has been left to Tim Farron.

    Tim has been doing a grand job and his stand on refugees has been an admirable example of real leadership.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Sep '15 - 8:34pm

    Schengen is collapsing in Europe. Either need to toughen up dramatically on the causes of mass migration or be a bit tougher with applicants. Perhaps background checks (even if just light ones).

  • Tim needs to roll up his own sleeves. He is being ridiculed in the press for missing last Fridays debate. He has not got off to a good start.

  • Matt (Bristol) 14th Sep '15 - 12:47am

    I agree with John Tilley and Huw Dawson. It should be clear that we’re not going to be allowed much airtime. I think any rebirth is going to have to be without much aid from the press. Let’s hope Farron outstays Corbyn, there’s a long way to go.

  • A Social Liberal 14th Sep '15 - 1:00am

    I can see it now Eddie.

    “Where do you come from Mr X”

    “Syria”

    “And why did you leave Syria, cross dangerous seas in flimsy and unseaworthy craft and then walk hundreds of miles to get here?”

    “Because my life and the lives of my wife and children were at risk, we were in danger”

    “Can you porove this, Mr X”

    Of course, you can exchange Syria for another country – but you get the picture

  • peter tyzack 14th Sep '15 - 10:30am

    Matt is so right. Tim was in Bristol yesterday, to take part in a Refugee Aid event, as well as the launch of our Mayoral candidate, but whilst the local media attended they have not reported him this morning… no bias there then..

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Sep '15 - 4:17pm

    Hi A Social Liberal. I mean if we are to take people directly from camps near to Syria, which I think sounds reasonable, then there should be some light checks.

  • Richard Underhill 14th Sep '15 - 10:42pm

    A Social Liberal 14th Sep ’15 – 1:00am This is not an accurate description of an asylum interview. Please bear in mind that if asylum is refused in the UK there is a right of appeal before an independent Immigration Judge in which the asylum is considered afresh.
    The first question is too vague: suppose a Pakistani citizen was at risk in Saudi Arabia, the UK would return him to Pakistan
    The second question rolls the sea and land journeys together, to reach the UK he/they would have crosseed safe countries, such as Italy and France.
    The third question shows no understanding of the refugee convention specifically not requiring proof as assumed. An asylum interviewer asking such questions would be retrained or allocated to other work.

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