The Liberal Democrats have condemned Conservative refusal to address Channel crossings after Tory MPs voted down this week an amendment to secure safe and legal routes for refugees and asylum seekers. Despite this amendment having cross party support in the House of Lords, Conservative MPs voted to remove it from the Bill by 333 votes to 264.
Speaking in the debate on Family Reunion, Alistair Carmichael MP said “How bad have things got to be before any parent would consider the possibility of going to sea at this time of year, knowing the possible consequences that we saw in the channel so very recently? My colleagues & I will never pass up an opportunity to put the case for the creation of safe and legal routes”.
Tim Farron MP added “I often hear people talk about the pull factor, but there is a push factor, for pity’s sake. Those people will try to find a way to our shores by a safe and legal way, or by utterly brutal and dangerous ways, unless we provide those safe routes.”
The family of five Iranian Kurds who died most recently in the attempt to find sanctuary in the UK were certainly driven to risk the Channel crossing by the lack of any safe alternative. It is Lib Dem policy and has been for years to provide safe and legal routes. We will carry on pushing for this until it is Government policy too. Any Government that wished to respect the UK’s commitments under the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees would agree.