A petition which has garnered over 400,000 signatures urging the British government to do more for Syrian refugees has culminated in an Emergency Debate in the House of Commons which will take place today after Questions, Statements and the Presentation and Ten Minute Rule Bills. The debate has been given a three hour slot.
When a petition on the UK Parliament website reaches over 100,000 signatures Parliament is required to consider debating that petition’s contents. Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper applied for this Emergency Debate yesterday, which has now been agreed.
There will be much to talk about. Despite the Prime Minister agreeing to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, he still refuses to opt in to an EU scheme for compulsory quotas citing the block as a move to prevent more refugees from making “dangerous journeys” across the Mediterranean. This will mean that help will only be given to refugees currently in United Nations refugee camps in Syria – refugees in neighbouring countries and those who have traveled across Europe will not get Britain’s help.
Needless to say, the British public are not impressed with Cameron’s response.
The Prime Minister appears to be using this crisis as an opportunity to push his agenda on counter-terrorism, rather than address a humanitarian crisis on its own terms. You can catch his statement in the House of Commons, which he made yesterday, here.
The debates for today will start at 11.30am, and can be watched live on ParliamentTV.