Today I chose to abstain on a vote regarding the end of the Dubs amendment.
The Government’s position is to bring an end to the programme which unaccompanied child refugees brought to the UK from Europe under the Dubs amendment and while I cannot agree with that point of view, I could also not support the motion as it was written.
I believe the government has done a great deal of good work within Europe and further afield when it comes to providing, not only refuge for those who are most in need, but also in-region aid to places like Syria, where the UK is second only to the US as a donor. The UK government still commits 0.7% of its budget to international aid which is one of David Cameron’s greatest successes, proving yet again that this is a country committed to supporting those in need, wherever they are in the world.
That being said, humanitarian challenges will always require solutions across a number of different methods. Delivery of in-region aid does a great deal to those in need there, but it does not negate the plight of unaccompanied children already in Europe. Furthermore, if capacity exists amongst local authorities across to accept more child refugees, which is apparently so, I believe that the UK still does have a role to play. Whether they already have family in the UK, or if it is in the best interests of the child concerned, the UK should be showing the way with its trademark compassion.
Today’s vote is non-binding, so no action is necessitated as a result. However, I hope the government uses this as an opportunity to reconsider its position on unaccompanied child refugees and continue the policy on which it has already embarked.