Cold comfort from Conservatives for child refugees

Posted on: 22nd January 2020


Conservative MPs have yet again today voted to refuse sanctuary for child refugees. This is as unsurprising as it is disappointing.

Conservative MPs of course routinely attempt to defend themselves by quoting the numbers of children who’ve successfully been resettled here in recent years (see this tissue of astonishingly selective “evidence” from the local Tory MP https://www.derekthomas.org/news/mps-column-143). But this is in spite of not because of Conservative Government policy that children have been settled.

As a Save the Children spokesperson said about this vote, “As a country, we have a duty to protect children escaping from war and persecution. Instead the UK will leave them to risk their lives on the dangerous journey to Europe and expose them to exploitation at the hands of traffickers.” Just a month before local Conservatives had donned swanky Christmas pullovers as if they had pulled on halos to proclaim their support for Save the Children.

This week they again rejected a proposal from Lord Alf Dubs, who was himself a child refugee who escaped Nazi Germany. Conservatives said they would in stead “make statements” to Parliament on the subject.

The Bishop of Durham who supported Lord Dubs added, “We want to be known as a country that is welcoming and compassionate and committed to playing our full part”.

The Conservative’s say it’s their “intention” to help resettle child refugees fleeing war torn countries, but most people just look at their record. Their infamous use of a “hostile environment” and dog-whistle belligerence towards minority ethnic communities. And their notorious “go home” vans parading through communities with high minority populations, or their shocking ill-treatment of UK citizens, the so-called “Windrush generation” who arrived after WW2 and who were threatened and even forced against their will to leave.