The recent images of a 3 year-old Syrian boy, tragically drowned during the perilous crossing from Turkey, marks a desperate new low in an already devastating humanitarian crisis.
We have pledged £900 million of humanitarian aid in response to the crisis in Syria and we have already provided shelter and security to 5000 Syrian refugees through regular asylum procedures but in the face of the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War, we can choose to do more.
We lead Europe in giving aid overseas, we are falling behind Europe in giving shelter to those seeking refuge from a terror that has forced them to gamble with their lives to escape. We can and should offer sanctuary to refugees in greater number and I have written to the Prime Minister to that effect.
How else are we helping? We are committed to tackling the root causes of this disaster. As a nation, our international aid budget (as a percentage of our GDP) is higher than any other G20 member state, and we give more to developing countries – in real terms – than any other nation in the world, except for the USA.
Alongside welcoming new refugees, we must urge our European partners to match our international aid contribution to see a more stable world. We must also play a leading role in pushing for action through the EU & UN to tackle the causes of illegal immigration and the organised trafficking gangs behind it.
The United Kingdom has a proud tradition as a bastion of liberty, security and tolerance and ever may that be.