Monday night saw possibly the biggest betrayal of refugee children by the current government to date by the voting down of the so called Dubs amendment by a vote of 294 to 276.
The amendment, tabled by Labour’s Lord Dubs would have allowed for 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children to enter the UK.
Horror and trauma
These are children who have been through unimaginable enough horrors for anyone, let alone those who are still children, still trying to work out what the world is about, how to interact with it, how to define their boundaries of safety. Children from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria. Places where Isis and the Taliban still rule with terror, violence and sexual assault. Children who have been tortured, victims of sexual abuse, children who have seen their families drown in rickety boats not fit for an English boating lake in the summer, let alone crossing vast seas in the winter, children who have seen their family and homes destroyed by bombs. And these are the ones who can talk enough to tell us their stories, the ones who are the least traumatised. The ones that are the most traumatised are often suffering such severe acute stress or post traumatic stress disorder that are unable to verbalise the dreadful horrors they have witnessed.
The long term damage on their lives is untold, and will continue while they are left uncared for in the world.
These lone children, who are without families to protect them, will now continue to be left to their own devices. Children ten years old, or even younger, sleeping rough on the roadside, an easy target for abuse. Children who, if taken against their will, would simply disappear with no-one noticing or investigating.
This refusal to help is the response from the UK Parliament, those who represent us, those that show the world what we stand for.
This the response from a country who, in the run up to World War Two, took in nearly 10,000 Jewish children in order to protect them from the horrors living under the Nazi regime might inflict on them under the Kindertransport scheme. A scheme which Lord Dubs himself was a beneficiary, coming to the UK originally as a refugee from Czechoslovakia. Evidence itself that children who come to the UK in extreme situations can flourish and positivity contribute to UK society.
Are we really saying that we are now less compassionate, less advanced than we were before the 1940’s? A period when women over 21 had only had the vote for just over twelve years. That’s how unequal UK society and thinking was back then and yet we reached out to help the helpless in a way we refuse to do now.
So who were the MP’s who decided that children should be left to sleep on the roadsides of Europe? In the main, they were Conservatives, with support from their cronies UKIP and the Ulster Unionist Party and Democratic Ulster Unionist Party. MP’s like my own, Maria Caulfield, who, as a practising Catholic, supports some Pro-Life issues, such as lowering the the abortion time limit. Obviously Pro-Life doesn’t apply to those outside of the leafy constituency of Lewes.
Or there is Philip Davies, who is the parliamentary spokesman for the ‘Campaign against political correctness’.
Or Charles Walker who himself has three children. How might he feel if it were his three children left alone in the world rather than those of faceless refugees.
While the MP’s that voted down the amendment to assist these children might argue that helping them only encourages the people traffickers that lead to the deaths of so many in such desperate plights, or that the UK alone can not possibly take on the burden of these 3,000 children, history says we can and we have. History says that if we take these children in and provide them with the help, support and education they need they can take their adversity and turn it into something Britain can be proud of.
Of all the lessons we should have learnt from WW2, helping those persecuted, at risk and without a voice, like these children, should have been one of the most important.
Below is a list of MP’s who voted against helping lone refugee children who, while these children slept on roadsides and gutters, went home and slept in their warm, comfortable, safe homes with people who worried about and cared for them.
Adams, Nigel; Afriyie, Adam; Aldous, Peter; Allan, Lucy; Amess, Sir David; Andrew, Stuart; Ansell, Caroline; Argar, Edward; Atkins, Victoria; Bacon, Mr Richard; Baker, Mr Steve; Baldwin, Harriett; Barclay, Stephen; Baron, Mr John; Barwell, Gavin; Bebb, Guto; Bellingham, Sir Henry; Benyon, Richard; Beresford, Sir Paul; Berry, Jake; Berry, James; Bingham, Andrew; Blunt, Crispin; Bone, Mr Peter; Borwick, Victoria; Bottomley, Sir Peter; Bradley, Karen; Brady, Mr Graham; Brazier, Mr Julian; Brine, Steve; Brokenshire, rh James; Bruce, Fiona; Buckland, Robert; Burns, Conor Burns, rh Sir Simon; Burrowes, Mr David; Burt, rh Alistair; Carmichael, Neil; Cartlidge, James; Cash, Sir William; Caulfield, Maria; Chalk, Alex; Chishti, Rehman; Chope, Mr Christopher; Churchill, Jo; Clark, rh Greg; Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth; Cleverly, James; Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey; Coffey, Dr Thérèse; Collins, Damian; Colvile, Oliver; Costa, Alberto; Crabb, rh Stephen; Davies, Byron; Davies, Glyn; Davies, Mims; Davies, Philip; Dinenage, Caroline; Djanogly, Mr Jonathan Donelan, Michelle; Double, Steve; Dowden, Oliver; Doyle-Price, Jackie; Drax, Richard; Drummond, Mrs Flick; Duddridge, James; Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain; Dunne, Mr Philip; Ellis, Michael; Ellison, Jane; Ellwood, Mr Tobias; Elphicke, Charlie; Eustice, George; Evans, Graham; Evans, Mr Nigel; Evennett, rh Mr David; Fabricant, Michael; Fallon, rh Michael; Fernandes, Suella; Field, rh Mark; Foster, Kevin; Fox, rh Dr Liam; Frazer, Lucy; Freeman, George; Freer, Mike; Gale, Sir Roger; Garnier, rh Sir Edward; Garnier, Mark; Gauke, Mr David; Ghani, Nusrat; Gibb, Mr Nick; Gillan, rh Mrs Cheryl; Glen, John; Goodwill, Mr Robert; Gove, rh Michael; Graham, Richard; Grant, Mrs Helen; Grayling, rh Chris; Green, Chris; Green, rh Damian; Grieve, rh Mr Dominic; Griffiths, Andrew; Gummer, Ben; Gyimah, Mr Sam; Halfon, rh Robert; Hall, Luke; Hammond, Stephen; Hancock, rh Matthew; Hands, rh Greg; Harper, rh Mr Mark; Harrington, Richard; Harris, Rebecca; Hart, Simon; Haselhurst, rh Sir Alan; Heald, Sir Oliver; Heappey, James; Heaton-Harris, Chris; Heaton-Jones, Peter; Henderson, Gordon; Herbert, rh Nick; Hinds, Damian; Hollobone, Mr Philip; Holloway, Mr Adam; Hopkins, Kris; Howarth, Sir Gerald; Howell, John; Howlett, Ben; Huddleston, Nigel; Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy; Hurd, Mr Nick; Jackson, Mr Stewart; Javid, rh Sajid; Jayawardena, Mr Ranil; Jenkin, Mr Bernard; Jenkyns, Andrea; Jenrick, Robert; Johnson, Boris; Johnson, Gareth; Johnson, Joseph; Jones, Andrew; Jones, rh Mr David; Jones, Mr Marcus; Kawczynski, Daniel; Kennedy, Seema; Kirby, Simon; Knight, rh Sir Greg; Knight, Julian; Kwarteng, Kwasi; Lancaster, Mark; Latham, Pauline; Leadsom, Andrea; Lee, Dr Phillip; Lefroy, Jeremy; Leigh, Sir Edward; Leslie, Charlotte; Letwin, rh Mr Oliver; Lewis, Brandon; Lewis, rh Dr Julian; Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian; Lidington, rh Mr David; Lilley, rh Mr Peter; Lopresti, Jack; Lord, Jonathan; Loughton, Tim; Lumley, Karen; Mackinlay, Craig; Mackintosh, David; Main, Mrs Anne; Mak, Mr Alan; Malthouse, Kit; Mann, Scott; May, rh Mrs Theresa; Maynard, Paul; McCartney, Karl; McLoughlin, rh Mr Patrick; McPartland, Stephen; Menzies, Mark; Merriman, Huw; Metcalfe, Stephen; Miller, rh Mrs Maria; Milling, Amanda; Mills, Nigel; Milton, rh Anne; Mordaunt, Penny; Morgan, rh Nicky; Morris, Anne Marie; Morris, David; Morris, James; Morton, Wendy; Mowat, David; Murray, Mrs Sheryll; Murrison, Dr Andrew; Newton, Sarah; Nokes, Caroline; Norman, Jesse; Nuttall, Mr David; Offord, Dr Matthew; Opperman, Guy; Parish, Neil; Patel, rh Priti; Paterson, rh Mr Owen; Pawsey, Mark; Penning, rh Mike; Penrose, John; Percy, Andrew; Perry, Claire; Philp, Chris; Pickles, rh Sir Eric; Pincher, Christopher; Poulter, Dr Daniel; Pow, Rebecca; Prentis, Victoria; Prisk, Mr Mark; Pritchard, Mark; Pursglove, Tom; Quin, Jeremy; Raab, Mr Dominic; Redwood, rh John; Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob; Robertson, Mr Laurence; Robinson, Mary; Rosindell, Andrew; Rudd, rh Amber; Rutley, David; Sandbach, Antoinette; Scully, Paul; Selous, Andrew; Shapps, rh Grant; Sharma, Alok; Shelbrooke, Alec; Simpson, rh Mr Keith; Skidmore, Chris; Smith, Chloe; Smith, Henry;Smith, Julian; Smith, Royston; Soames, rh Sir Nicholas; Solloway, Amanda; Soubry, rh Anna; Spelman, rh Mrs Caroline; Spencer, Mark; Stephenson, Andrew; Stevenson, John; Stewart, Bob; Stewart, Iain; Stewart, Rory; Streeter, Mr Gary; Stride, Mel; Stuart, Graham; Sturdy, Julian; Sunak, Rishi; Swayne, rh Mr Desmond; Swire, rh Mr Hugo; Syms, Mr Robert; Thomas, Derek; Throup, Maggie; Timpson, Edward; Tolhurst, Kelly; Tomlinson, Justin; Tomlinson, Michael; Tracey, Craig; Tredinnick, David; Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie; Truss, rh Elizabeth; Tugendhat, Tom; Turner, Mr Andrew; Tyrie, rh Mr Andrew; Vaizey, Mr Edward; Vara, Mr Shailesh; Vickers, Martin; Villiers, rh Mrs Theresa; Walker, Mr Charles; Walker, Mr Robin; Warman, Matt; Watkinson, Dame Angela; Whately, Helen; Wheeler, Heather; White, Chris; Whittaker, Craig; Whittingdale, rh Mr John; Wiggin, Bill; Williams, Craig; Williamson, rh Gavin; Wilson, Mr Rob; Wollaston, Dr Sarah; Wood, Mike; Wragg, William; Wright, rh Jeremy
Democratic Ulster Unionist
Campbell, Mr Gregory; Shannon, Jim
Ulster Unionist Party
Elliott, Tom; Kinahan, Danny
What do you think? Should the UK do more? Have your say in the comments below.