All 1 Chris Stephens debates involving the Department for International Development

Humanitarian Crisis in the Mediterranean and Europe

Chris Stephens Excerpts
Wednesday 9th September 2015

(6 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Simon Hoare Portrait Simon Hoare
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With the greatest respect to the hon. Gentleman—I do have a huge amount of respect for his views on many issues—I think that point seeks to deliberately debase the debate. This is nothing at all to do with either decency or indecency. The difference between opposition and government is that Opposition parties can let only their hearts dictate the narrative; the governing party has to use heart and head. I shall come on briefly to some of the issues—whether we are talking about 20,000 and whether they will come from within the camps or elsewhere—that are pertinent for Ministers to consider.

Chris Stephens Portrait Chris Stephens (Glasgow South West) (SNP)
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Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Simon Hoare Portrait Simon Hoare
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I have given way quite enough. Let me make a little progress in the time remaining.

I was a district councillor for 11 years, so I find it heartening that through the Department for International Development’s budget for the first year, funding will be made available to local authorities. I suggest that there would be an even more active response from local government if Ministers gave a further indication of the sources of funding for years 2 through to 5. That would be productive.

We should always continue to ensure that countries closer to Syria and the camps do their bit. We must ask Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and others to play their part, because the quicker we can get people back to a country that is peaceful and where civil government is reinstated, the better. It will be much easier to do that from countries nearer to home.

I fear that the slightly open-door policy advocated by the shadow Foreign Secretary and the SNP is the greatest recruiting sergeant to those whom the whole House abhors: those who profit from people trafficking. I think that it will just encourage people. [Interruption.] Opposition Members from a sedentary position shout “shameful”, and I absolutely agree. It is shameful that in the early part of the 21st century, we have people—fellow human beings—who seek to profit and make their living from selling and transporting human cargo in degrading and horrible circumstances, where they are ripping people off, cramming them into boats and causing even more unnecessary suffering.