Sutton’s Liberal Democrat leaders are calling for urgent action in support of Syrian refugees fleeing from the disastrous humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.
Liberal Democrat Leader of Sutton Council, Ruth Dombey, has mobilised the resources of Sutton Council to prepare its support in case the government changes its rigid stance on accepting more refugees.
Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Walington, Tom Brake, has called for an urgent debate in Parliament when it resumes next Monday on the fate of the thousands of refugees and the Government’s response to the crisis.
Ruth and Tom said: “We need to tackle this issue head on and see how we can work with our European partners to create a long term and sustainable solution to the crisis while securing our borders.
“We Brits have a long and proud history of helping people who have risked their lives to escape conflict and violence.
“In 1572 we resettled 100,000 French Protestants fleeing persecution in France. In the 1930s we helped 20,000 Jews fleeing the Nazis. And in 1972 we welcomed 27,000 Ugandan Asians fleeing a tyrannical regime.”
They added that in every instance the refugees and their descendants had gone on to make enormous contributions to the economy and to become an important part of the fabric of British society.
Tom and Ruth continued: “At present the UK has resettled just 216 vulnerable Syrian refugees while Germany has accepted 800,000 and Lebanon - twenty times smaller than the UK - has taken 1.2 million refugees.
“This is a humanitarian crisis that shames the world. We must step up to the plate to tackle it. We need to do more.’
Ruth added: “I say to David Cameron and the government: Wake up. Stop trying to play politics with people's lives. Let’s do the right thing and reach out a hand to these families who so desperately need our help.”
Tom is organising a demonstration calling on the government to change its response to the crisis. He said: “Join me outside Wallington Old Town Hall (just up from Barclays) in Woodcote Road, Wallington at 11am on Saturday. Bring your own sign saying #RefugeesWelcome. Let’s make our views known.”